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Full text of "Letters of Demonology and Witchcraft"




| * COLLECTION OF •* 

B NORTH CAROLINA I 

^CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY CONVENTION % 




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in 2013 



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Harper's Stereotype Edition. 

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! I 

LETTERS 



ON 

DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 

ADDRESSED TO 

J. G. LOCKfiART, ESQ. 

BY 

SIR WALTER SCOTT, BART 



l^liAO NEW-YORK: 

PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS, 

N O. 8 2 C L I F F - STREET. 

-D1SCIPLIANA LIBRARY 
ATUjjWC CHRISTIAN CG.LEG, 
WILSON, N. C. 
"^Atlantic Chrl^im C«!W Library 

i 



CONTENTS. 



LETTER L 



Origin of the general Opinions respecting Demonology among Mankind 
—The Belief in the Immortality of the Soul is the main Inducement 
to credit its occasional Reappearance— The philosophical Objections 
to the Apparition of an abstract Spirit little understood by the Vulsar 
and Ignorant— The Situationsof excited Passion incident to Humanity, 
which teach Men to wish or apprehend supernatural Apparitions— 
They are often presented by the sleeping Sense— Story of Somnam- 
bulism—The Influence of Credulity contacious, so that Individuals 
will trust the Evidence of others in despite of their own Senses- 
Examples from the Historia Verdadera of Bernal Bias del Castillo, 
and from the Works of Patrick Walker— The apparent Evidence of 
Intercourse wkh the supernatural World is sometimes owing to a 
depraved State of the bodily OrL'ans— Difference between this Disorder 
and Insanity, in which the Organs retain their Tone, though that of 
the Wind is lost— Rebellion of the Senses of a Lunatic against the 
Current of his Reveries— Narratives of a contrary Nature, in which 
the Evidence of the Eyes overbore the Conviction of the Under- 
standing— Example of a London Man of Pleasure— Of Nicolai, the 
German Bookseller and Philosopher— Of a Patient of Dr. Gregory— 
Of an eminent Scottish Lawyer deceased— Of this same fallacious 
Disorder are other Instances, which have but sudden and momentary 
Endurance— Apparition of Maupertuis— Of a late illustrious modern 
Poet— The Cases quoted c-hieflv relating to false Impressions on the 
visual Nerve, those upon the Ear next considered— Delusions of the 
± ouch chiefly experienced in Sleep— Delusions of the Taste— and of 
the Smelling— Sum of the Argument 13 

LETTER II. 

Consequences of the Fall on the Communication between Men and the 
Spiritual World— Effects of the Flood— Wizards of Pharaoh— Text 
mExodus against Witches-The word V/itch is bvsomesaidt/Mnean 
merely Poisoner— Or if in the Holy Text it also means" a Divi neress, she 
must, at any rate, have been a Character verv different to be identified 
with it— The original, Chasapk, said to mean a Person who dealt in 
Poisons, often a Traffic of those who dealt with familiar Spirils— But 
different from the European Witch of the Middle Ag°s— Thus a 
Witch is not accessary to the Temptation of Job— The Witch of the 
Hebrews probably did not rank hiffher than a Divining Woman— Ye' 
it was a Crime deserving the Doom of Death, since it inferred the 
eowning of Jehovah's Supremacy— Other Texts of Scripture, in iiK6 






Viii CONTENTS 

manner, f efer to something corresponding more with a Fortune-teller 
or Divining Woman, than what is now called a Witch — Example of 
the Witch of Endor — Account of her Meeting with Saul — Supposed 
by some a mere Impostor — By others, a Sorceress powerful enough to 
raise the Spirit of the Prophet by her own Art — Difficulties attending 
tioth Positions — A middle Course adopted, supposing that, as in the 
Case of Balak, the Almighty had, by exertion of his Will, substituted 
Samuel, or a good Spirit in his Character, for the Deception which the 
Witch intended to produce— Resumption of the Argument, showing 
that the Witch of Endor signified something very different from the 
modern Ideas of Witchcraft — The Witches mentioned in the New 
Testament are not less different from modern Ideas than those of the 
Books of Moses, nor do they appear to have possessed the Power 
ascribed to Magicians — Articles of Faith which we may gather from 
Scripture on this Point — That there might be certain Powers permitted 
by the Almighty to inferior, and even evil Spirits, is possible ; and in 
some Sense, the Gods of the Heathens might be accoutred Demons — 
More frequently, and in a general Sense, they were but Logs of Wood, 
without Sense or Power of any Kind, and their Worship founded on. 
Imposture — Opinion that the Oracles were silenced at the Nativity, 
adopted by Milton — Cases of Demoniacs — The incarnate Possessions 
probably ceased at the same Time as the Intervention of Miracles — 
Opinion of the Catholics — Result that Witchcraft, as the Word is 
interpreted in the middle Ages, neither occurs under the Mosaic or 
Gospel Dispensation — It arose in the ignorant Period, when the 
Christians considered the Gods of the Mahommedan ^r Heathen Na- 
tions as Fiends, and their Priests as Conjurers or Wizards — Instance 
as to the Saracens, and among the Northern Europeans yet unconvert- 
ed — The Gods of Mexico and Peru explained on the same System — 
Also the Powahs of North America — Opinion of Mather — Gibb, a 
supposed Warlock, persecuted by the other Dissenters — Conclu- 
sion. 52 

LETTER III. 

Creed of Zoroaster — Received partially into most Heathen Nations — In- 
stances among the Celtic Tribes of Scotland — Beltaine Feast— Gude- 
man's Croft — Such Abuses admitted into Christianity after the earlier 
Ages of the Church — Law of the Romans against Witchcraft — Romish 
Customs survive the Fall of their Religion — Instances — Demonology 
of the Northern Barbarians — Nicksas — Bbar-geist — Correspondence 
between the Northern and Roman Witches— The Power of Fascina- 
tion ascribed to the Sorceresses — Example from the Eyrbiggia Saga — 
The Prophetesses of the Germans— The Gods of Valhalla not highly 
regarded by their Worshippers — Often defied by their Champions — 
Demonsof the North — Story of Assueit and Asmund— Action of Eject- 
ment against Spectres — Adventure of a Champion with the Goddess 
Freya — Conversion of the Pagans of Iceland to Christianity — North- 
ern Superstitions mixed with thoseof the Celts — Satyrs of the North — 
Highland Ourisk — Meming the Satyr 83 

LETTER IV. 

The Fairy Superstition is derived from different Sources — The classical 
Worship of the Sylvans, or rural Deities, proved by Roman Altars 



CONTENTS. IS 

discovered — The Gothic Duergar, or Dwarfs, supposed to be derived 
from the Northern Laps, or Fins — The Niebelungen-Lied— King I.au- 
rin's Adventure — Celtic Fairies of a gayer Character, yet their Plea- 
sures empty and illusory — Addicted to carry off human Beings, both 
Infants and Adults — Adventures of a Butler in Ireland — The Elves 
supposed to pay a Tax to Hell — The Irish, Welsh, Highlanders, and 
Manxmen, held the same Belief— It was rather rendered more gloomy 
by the Northern Traditions— Merlin and Arthur carried off by the 
Fairies — Also Thomas of Erceldoune — His Amour with the Queen of 
Elfland — His Reappearance in latter Times — Another Account from 
Reginald Scot — Conjectures on the Derivation of the word Fairy. 108 

LETTER V. 

Those who dealt in Fortune-telling, mystical Cures by Charms, and the 
like, often claimed an Intercourse with Fairy Land — Hudhart or 
Hudikin — Pitcairn's Scottish Criminal Trials — Story of Bessie Dun- 
lop and her Adviser — Her Practice of Medicine — and of Discovery of 
Theft — Account of her Familiar, Thome Reid— Trial of Alison 
Pearson — Account of her Familiar, William Sympson — Trial of the 
Lady Fowlis, and of Hector Munro, her step-son — Extraordinary 
Species of Charm used by the latter — Confession of John Stewart, a 
Juggler, of his Intercourse with the Fairies — Tiial and Confession 
of [sobel Gowdie — Use of Elf-arrow Heads — Parish of Aberfoyle — 
Mr. Kirke, the Minister of Aberfoyle's Work on Fairy Superstitions 
— He is himself taken to Fairyland — Dr. Grahame's interesting 
Work, and his Information on Fairy Superstitions — Story of a 
Female in East Lothian carried off by the Fairies — Another Instance 
„ from Pennant 127 

LETTER VI. 

immediate Effect of Christianity on Articles of Popular Superstition- 
Chaucer's Account of the Roman Catholic Priests banishing the 
Fairies — Bishop Corbett imputes the same Effect to the Reformation 
— His Verses on that Subject — His Iter Septentrionale — Robin Good- 
fellow, and other Superstitions mentioned by Reginald Scot — Cha- 
racter of the English Fairies — The Tradition had become obsolete in 
that Author's Time — That of Witches remained in Vigour — But 
impugned by various Authors after the Reformation, as Wierus, 
Naudams, Scot, and others — Demonology defended by Bodinus, 
Remigius, &c. — Their mutual Abuse of each other— Imperfection of 
Physical Science at this Period, and the Predominance of Mysticism 
in that Department. . 152 

LETTER VII. 

Penal Laws unpopular when rigidly exercised — Prosecution of Witches 
placed in the Hand of special Commissioners, ad inquirendum — Pro- 
secution for Witchcraft not frequent in the elder Period of the 
Roman Empire— Nor in the Middle Ages— Some Cases took place, 
however — The Maid of Orleans— The Dutchess of Gloucester — 
Richard the Third's Charge against the Relations of the Queen 
Dowager — But Prosecutions against Sorcerers became more common 
in the End of the Fourteenth Century— Usually united with the Charge 



X CONTENTS. 

of Heresy— Monstrelet's A ccount of the Persecution against the Wal- 
denses, under Pretext of Witchcraft — Florimond's Testimony con- 
cerning the Increase of Witches in liis own Time — Bull of Pope In- 
nocent VIII.— Various Prosecutions in foreign Countries under this 
severe Law— Prosecutions in Labourt, by the Inquisitor De Lancre 
and his Colleague — Lycanthropy — Witches in Spain — In Sweden — 
And particularly those apprehended at Mohra. ... 169 

LETTER VIII. 

The EfFects of the Witch Superstition are to be traced in the Laws of a 
Kingdom— Usually punished in England as aCrime connected with Po- 
litics— Attempt at Murder for Witchcraft not in itself capital— Trials 
of Persons of Rank for Witchcraft, connected with State Crimes- 
Statutes of Henry VIII.— How Witchcraft was regarded by the three 
leading Sects of Religion in the Sixteenth Century; first, by the 
Catholics; second, by the Calvinists; third, by the Church of England 
and Lutherans — Impostures unwarily countenanced by individual 
Catholic Priests, and also by some Puritanic Clergymen— Statute of 
1562, and some Cases upon it— Case of Dugdale— Case of the Witches 
of Warbois, and Execution of the Family of Samuel— That of Jane 
Wenham, in which some Church of England Clergymen insisted on the 
Prosecution— Hutchison's Rebuke to them— James the First's Opinion 
of Witchcraft— His celebrated Statute, 1 Jac. I.— Canon passed by the 
Convocation arainst Possession— Case of Mr. Fairfax's Children— Lan- 
cashire Witches in 1613— Another Discovery in 1634— Webster's 
Account of the Manner in which the Imposture was managed— Supe- 
riority of the Calvinists is followed by a severe Prosecution of 
Witches— Executions in Suffolk, &c. to a dreadful Extent— Hopkins, 
the pretended Witchfinder, the Cause of these Cruelties — His brutal 
Practices— His Letter— Execution of Mr. Lowis— Hopkins punished— 
Restoration of Charles— Trial of Coxe— of Dunny and Callender be- 
fore Lord Hales— Roval Society and Progress of Knowledge— Somer- 
setshire Witches— Opinions of the Populace— A Woman swum for 
Witchcraft at Oakly— Murder at Trine— Act against Witchcraft 
abolished, and the Belief in the Crime becomes forgotten— Witch 
Trials in New-England— Dame Glover's Trial— Affliction of the 
Parvises, and frightful Increase of the Prosecutions— Suddenly put a 
Stop to— The Penitence of those concerned in them. . . 102 

LETTER IX. 

Scottish Trials— Earl of Mar— Lady Glammis— William Barton- 
Witches of Auldearne— Their Bites and Charms— Their Transforma- 
tion into Hares— Satan's Severity towards them— Their Crimes— Sir 
George Mackenzie's Opinion of Witchcraft— Instances of Confessions 
made by the Accused, in Despair, and to avoid future Annoyance ana 
Persecution— Examination by Pricking— The Mode of judicial Proce- 
dure against Witches, and Nature of the Evidence admissible, opened 
a Door to Accusers, and left the Accused no Chance of Escape— The 
Superstition of the Scottish Clergy in King James VI.'s Time led 
them, like their Sovereign, to encourage Witch-Prosecutions— Case 
of Bessie Graham— Supposed Conspiracy to shipwreck James in his 
Voyage to Denmark— Meetings of the Witches, and Rites performed 
to accomplish their Purpose -Trial of Margaret Barclay in 1616— Case 



CONTENTS. x 

of Major Weir-Sir John Clerk among the first who declined actini- 
as Commissioner on the Trial of a Witch-Paisley and Pittenweem 
Wi ches-A Prosecution in Caithness prevented by the Interfered 
w-t h h 6 K !v" gS Ad ~. in 1718— The last Sentence of Death for 
Witchcraft pronounced in Scotland in 1722-Remains of the Witch 
Superstition- Case of supposed Witchcraft, related from the Author's 
own Knowledge, which took Place so late as 1800. . 341 

LETTER X. 

Other mystic Arts independent of Witchciaft-Astrology-Its Influence 
during the 16th and 17th Centuries-Base Ignorance of those who 
practised it-Li Ily's History of his Life and Times-Astro ogee's So 
ciety-Dr. Lamb-Dr Forman-Establishment of the Royal Society 
-Partridge-Connexion of Astrologers with elementary Spiri^-Dr 
Dun-Irish Superstition of the Banshie-Similar Superstitio n the 
aghlands-Brownie-Ghosts-Belief of ancient Philosophers on thai 
Subject-Inquiry into the Respect due to such Tales in modern Times 
-Evidence of a Ghost against a Murderer-Ghost of Sir Geo i Vil- 
hers-Story of Earl St. Vincent-of a British General Officer-of an 
Apparition in France-of the second Lord Lyttelton-of Bu Jones™ 
of Jams Matcham-Tnal of two Highlanders for the Murder of Ser- 
f S^S dlscovered b y a Ghost-Disturbances at Woodstock 
Anno 16-19-Im posture called the Stockwell Glmst-Snnilar Case in 
Scotland-Ghost appearing to an Exciseman-Story « a disturbed 

■nXui 8C °ACh. b by „r P, l : ir "" 1 , eSS0f ">e Proprietorial on at 
Ilymoutn— A Club ol Philosophers-Ghost Adventure of a Farmer 

ikm'of "P° Amr te, ' ar l S0ldie, '- G,10st Storifis recommended byThe 
Ski I of the Authors who compose them-Mrs. Veal's Ghost-Dun! 

Ze a te™°rvf V ' de " ce - Effwt « f appropriate Scenery to encou- 
N&h, ^ndencytobupersmion-Difre.s at distant Periods of Life- 
Night atGlammis Castle about 1791-Visit to Dun vegan in 1314 .290 



LETTERS 



ox 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 



LETTERS 

ON 

DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 

To J. G. LOCKHART, Esq. 



LETTER I. 



Origin of the general Opinions respecting Demonoiogy among Mankind 
-The Behet in the Immortality of the Soul is the main Inducement 
to credit its occasional Reappearance— The philosophical Objections 
to the Apparition of an abstract Spirit little understood by the Vul^pr 
and Ignorant-The Situationsof excited Passion incident to Humanfty 
which teach Men to wish or apprehend supernatural Apparitions- 
hXU^h f P fl resented F b y the ?. Iee P ln ? Sense-Story of Somnam- 
bulism-! he Influence of Credulity contagious, so that Individuals 
will trust the Evidence of others in despite of their own Senses- 
Examples from the Hismria Verdadera of Bernal Dias del Castillo 
and from the Works of Patrick Walker-The apparent Evidence of 
Intercourse with the supernatural World is sometimes owin°- to a 
depraved State of the bodily Organs-Difference between this Disorder 
and Insanity, m which the Organs retain their Tone, though that of 

?hJv f bla R . e Yfnes-Narratives of a contrary Nature, in which 
the Evidence of the Eyes overbore the Conviction of the Under- 
standing-Example of a London Man of Pleasure-Of Nicolai, the 
German Bookseller and Philosopher-Of a Patient of Dr. Gre«or V - 
Of an eminent Scottish Lawyer deceased-Of this same fallacious 
Disorder are other Instances which have but sudden and momentary 
Pr«, ™ 7 Apparition of Maupertuis-Of a late illustrious modem 
kTl T ,U01edC ' tfl J' elati " ! t0 false Impressions on the 
T,! ,h h n ' ° Se UP ° n i he = ar neXt m ™dered-Delusions of the 
£p ww y "P er,e "" d "> Sleep-Delusions of the Taste-andof 
the bme.hng— turn of the Argument. 

You have asked of me, my dear friend, that I should 
assist the Family Library, with the history of a dark 
chapter in human nature, which the increasing civil- 
ization of all well-instructed countries has now 
almost blotted out, though the subject attracted no 
B 



14 LETTERS 05 

ordinary degree of consideration in the older times 
of their history. 

Among much reading of my early days, it is no 
doubt true that I travelled a good deal in the twilight 
regions of superstitious disquisitions. Many hours 
have I lost, — " 1 would their debt were less !" — in 
examining old, as well as more recent narratives of 
this character, and even in looking into some of the 
criminal trials so frequent in early days, upon a sub- 
ject which our fathers considered as matter of the 
last importance. And, of late years, the very curious 
extracts published by Mr. Pitcairn, from the criminal 
Records of Scotland, are, besides their historical 
value, of a nature so much calculated to illustrate 
the credulity of our ancestors on such subjects, that, 
by perusing them, I have been induced more recently 
to recall what I had read and thought upon the sub- 
ject at a former period. 

As, however, my information is only miscellaneous, 
and I make no pretensions, either to combat the sys- 
tems of those by whom I am anticipated in consider- 
ation of the subject, or to erect any new one of my 
own, my purpose is, after a general account of De- 
monology and Witchcraft, to confine myself to nar- 
ratives of remarkable cases, and to the observations 
which naturally and easily arise out of them ; — in the 
confidence that such a plan is, at the present time of 
day, more likely to suit the pages of a popular mis- 
cellany, than an attempt to reduce the contents of 
many hundred tomes, from the largest to the smallest 
size,' into an abridgment, which, however com- 
pressed, must remain" greatly too large for the reader's 
powers of patience. 

A few general remarks on the nature of Demono- 
logy, and the original cause of the almost universal 
belief in communication between mortals and beings 
of a power superior to themselves, and of a nature 
not to be comprehended by human organs, are a 
necessary introduction to the subject. 



DEMONOLOGV AND WITCHCRAFT. 15 

hJPf f^ er - al i 5 ft ma ^ be ter med,the universal 
belief of the inhabitants of the earth, in the existence 
of spirits separated from the encumbrance and inca! 
KT f ^ h <fT> iS ^°' d,lded 0n the eonsdou ess 
' strawy that SpeakS *? ° Ur b0s0ms ' aild de ™»- 
to th? Z£A en '? XC T the few wh0 are hardened 

ion of tbh ^ V ° 1C k' that there is within us a Por- 
tion of the d vine substance, which is not subject to 

I' hT ° f death aM dM ^°», but which when 
ft 1S n ° l011?er fit f» its abode ' shall seek its 
fwfr^ aS a S , entinel dlsm issed from his post. 
Unaided by revelation, it cannot be honed that 
mere earthly reason should be able to form any 
!°" al ; P recise conjecture concerning the desti- 
nation of the soul when parted from the body; 
but the conviction that such an indestructible es- 
sence exists, the belief expressed by the P oet in a 
different sense, JVon omnis moriar, must infer the ex- 
istence of many millions of spirits, who have not 
been annihilated, though they have become invisible 
to mortals who still see, hear, and perceive only by 
means of the imperfect organs of humanity. Pro- 
babihty may lead some of the most reflecting to an- 
ticipate a state of future rewards and punishments • 
as those experienced in the education of the deaf and 
dumb find that their pupils, even while cut off from 
all instruction by ordinary means, have been able to 
form, out of their own unassisted conjectures, some 
ideas of tne existence of a Deity, and of the distinc- 
lon between the soul and body-a circumstance 
which proves how naturally these truths arise in the 
human mind. The principle that they do so arise 
being taught or communicated, leads to farther con- 
clusions. 

These spirits, in a state of separate existence, 
>emg admitted to exist, are not, it may be supposed 

SSKf 1 ? « ' affairS ? f mo "^y,perha P snot in! 
-apable of influencing them. It is true, that, in a 
nore advanced state of society, the philosopher may 



16 LETTERS OS 

challenge the possibility of a separate appearance of a 
disimbodied spirit, unless in the case of a direct 
miracle, to which, being a suspension of the laws of 
nature, directly wrought by the Maker of these laws, 
for some express purpose, no bound or restraint can 
possibly be assigned. But, under this necessary limit- 
ation and exception, philosophers might plausibly 
argue, that, when the soul is divorced from the body, 
it loses all those qualities which made it, when 
clothed with a mortal shape, obvious to the organs 
of its fellow-men. The abstract idea of a spirit cer- 
tainly implies, that it has neither substance, form, 
shape, voice, or any thing which can render its pre- 
sence visible or sensible to human faculties. But 
these skeptic doubts of philosophers on the possibility 
of the appearance of such sepaiated spirits, do not 
arise till a certain degree of information has dawned 
upon a country, and even then only reach a very- 
small proportion of reflecting and better informed 
members of society. To the multitude, the indubi- 
table fact, that so many millions of spirits exist' 
around and even among us, seems sufficient to sup- 
port the belief that they are, in certain instances at 
least, by some means or other, able to communicate 
with the world of humanity. The more numerous 
part of mankind cannot form in their mind the idea 
of the spirit of the deceased existing, without pos- i 
sessing or having the power to assume the appear- 
ance which their acquaintance bore during his life, 
and do not push their researches beyond this point. 

Enthusiastic feelings of an impressive and solemn 
nature occur both in private and public life, which 
seem to add ocular testimony to an intercourse be- 
tween earth and the world beyond it. For example, 
the son who has been lately deprived Of his father 
feels a sudden crisis approach, in which he is anxious 
to have recourse to his sagacious advice — or a be- 
reaved husband earnestly desires again to behold the 
form of which the grave has deprived him for ever 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 17 

—or, to use a darker yet very common instance, the 
wretched man who has dipped his hand in his fellow- 
creature's blood is haunted bv the apprehension that 
the phantom of the slain stands by the bedside of 
his murderer. In all or any of these cases, who 
shall doubt that imagination, favoured by circum- 
stances, has power to summon up to the organ of si out 
spectres which only exist in the mind of those by 
whom their apparition seems to be witnessed? 

If we add, that such a vision may take place in 
the course of one ol those lively dreams, in which 
the patient, except in respect to the single subject 
of one strong impression, is, or seems, sensible of 
the real particulars of the scene around him, a state 
of slumber which often occurs— if he is so far con- 
scious, for example, as to know that he is lying on his 
own bed, and surrounded by hisown familiar furniture, 
at the time when the sup'posed apparition is mani- 
fested — it becomes almost in vain to argue with the 
visionary against the reality of his dream, since the 
spectre, though itself purely fanciful, is inserted 
amid so many circumstances which he feels must be 
true beyond the reach of doubt or question. That 
which is undeniably certain becomes in a manner a 
warrant for the reality of the appearance to which 
ioubt would have been otherwise attached. And if 
iny event, such as the death of the person dreamed of, 
mances to take place, so as to correspond with the' 
rature and the time of the apparition, the coincidence, 
;hough one which must be frequent, since our dreams' 
isually refer to the accomplishment of that which 
launts our minds when awake, and often presage 
he most probable events, seems perfect, and the 
main of circumstances touching the evidence may 
lot unreasonably be considered as complete. Such a 
•oncatenation, we repeat, must frequentlv take place, 
vhen it is considered of what stuff dreams are made 
-how naturally they turn upon those who occupy our 
mnd while awake, and, when a soldier is exposed to 
B 2 



18 LETTERS ON 

death in battle, when a sailor is incurring the dan- 
gers of the sea, when a beloved wife or relative is 
attacked by disease, how readily our sleeping ima- 
gination rushes to the very point of alarm, which 
when waking it had shuddered to anticipate. The 
number of instances in which such lively dreams 
have been quoted, and both asserted and received as 
spiritual communications, is very great at all periods; 
in ignorant times, where the natural cause of dream- 
ing is misapprehended, and confused with an idea of 
mysticism, it is much greater. Yet perhaps, consi- 
dering the many thousands of dreams which must, 
night after night, pass through the imagination of 
individuals, the number of coincidences between the , 
vision and real event, is fewer and less remarkable 
than a fair calculation of chances would warrant us 
to expect. But in countries where such presaging 
dreams are subjects of attention, the number of those 
which seem to be coupled with the corresponding 
issue is large enough to spread a very general belief 
of a positive communication between the living and 
the dead. 

Somnambulism and other nocturnal deceptions 
frequently lend their aid to the formation of such 
phantasmata as are formed in this middle state be 
tween sleeping and waking. A most respectable 
person, whose active life had been spent as master 
and part owner of a large merchant vessel in the 
Lisbon trade, gave the writer an account of such an 
instance which came under his observation. He was 
lying in the Tagus, when he was put to great anxiety 
and alarm, by the following incident and its conse- 
quences. One of his crew was murdered by a Por- 
tuguese assassin, and a report arose that the ghost 
of the slain man haunted the vessel. Sailors are 
generally superstitious, and those of my friend's ves- 
sel became unwilling to remain on board the ship ; 
and it was probable they might desert rather than 
return to England with the ghost for a passenger. 



DEMOXOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 19 

To prevent so great a calamity, the Captain deter 

tad SSST^ ^ t0 {he bottonf "Ae 'o 
found, that though all pretended to have seen lights 
and heard noises, and so forth, the weigh of the Pev -' 
fence lay upon the statement of one of Ids own 

creSht t^l 1 " 11 and S Cath ° llC ' whi <* «S*T 
crease Ins tendency to superstition, but in other re- 

c£n aVe TT' h0neSt ' andse ^ le »^ 

decen e hm7 1"° 2**^ to Sl )- Spect W0lll(i wilfullv 

Slf ! He afhrmed to Captain S , with 

the deepest obtestations, that the s^ctre of the mur- 
dered man appeared to him almost ni^htlv took him 
from Ins place in the vessel, and, according to h£ 
own expression, worried his life out. He made These 
communications with a degree of horror, which intt 
mated the reality of his distress and apprehension 
The Captain, without any argument at the tirSe pri 
lately resolved to watch the motions of the S- 
seer in the night; whether alone, or with a whne 
I have forgotten. As the ship bell struck twe lie the 
sleeper started up, with a ghastly and disturbed 
countenance, and lighting a candle, proceeded to the 
galley or cook-room of the vessel." He sat down 
with _ his eyes open, staring before him as on some 
terrible > object which he beheld with horror, vet from 
> Which he could not withhold his eyes. After a short 
space he arose, took up a tin can or decanter! filled 
rt wu.h water, muttering to himself all the while- 

SSJ PhSlS 6 !^^ S P riIlkledit about the 
galley. Finally, he sighed deeply, like one relieved 

man S thJ' \ the neXt morninff ' the haunted 
man told he usual precise story of his annarition 

with the additional circumstance" that the gho t had 

led him to the galley, but that he had fortunately 

he k^w not how, obtained possession of some holy 

feiter The ^ * ^^ ° f hls "SSiS 

visiter. Lhe visionary was then informed of the 
real transactions of the night, with so many particu! 



20 LETTERS ON 

lars as to satisfy him he had been the dime of his 
imagination ; he acquiesced in his commander's rea- 
soning, and the dream, as often happens in these 
cases, returned no more after its imposture had been 
detected. In this case, we find the excited imagina- 
tion acting upon the half-waking senses, which were ; 
intelligent enough for the purpose of making him 
sensible where he was, but not sufficiently so as to 
judge truly of the objects before him. 

But it is not private life alone, or that tenor of j 
thought which has been depressed into melancholy 
by gloomy anticipations respecting the future, which 
disposes the mind to midday fantasies, or to nightly 
apparitions — a state of eager anxiety, or excited 
exertion, is equally favourable to the indulgence of 
such supernatural communications. The anticipation 
of a dubious battle, with all the doubt and uncer- 
tainty of its event, and the conviction that it must 
involve his own fate, and that of his country, was 
powerful enough to conjure up to the anxious eye 
of Brutus the spectre of his murdered friend Cesar, 
respecting whose death he perhaps thought himself 
less justified than at the Tdes of March, since instead 
of having achieved the freedom of Rome, the event 
had only been the renewal of civil wars, and the 
issue might appear most likely to conclude in the 
total subjection of liberty. It is not miraculous, that 
the masculine spirit of Marcus Brutus, surrounded 
by darkness and solitude, distracted probably by 
recollection of the kindness and favour of the 
great individual whom he had put to death to avenge 
the wrongs of his country, though by the slaughter 
of his own friend, should at length place before his 
eyes in person the appearance which termed itself 
his evil Genius, and promised again to meet him at 
Philippi. Brutus's own intentions, and his knowledge 
of the military art, had probably long since assured 
him that the decision of the civil war must take place 
at or near that place ; and, allowing that his own 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 21 

imagination supplied that part of his dialogue with 
the spectre, there is nothing else which might not be 
fashioned m a vivid dream or a wakin'o- re very 
approaching, in absorbing and engrossing character 
the usual matter of which dreams consist. That 
Brutus, well acquainted with the opinions of the 
Platomsts, should be disposed to receive without 
doubt the idea that he had seen a real apparition, and 
was not hkely to scrutinize very minutely the sup- 
posed vision, maybe naturally conceived ; and it is 
also natural to think, that although no one saw the 
figure but himself, his contemporaries were little 
disposed to examine the testimony of a man so 
eminent, by the strict rules of cross-examination and 
conflicting evidence, which they might have thought 
applicable to another person, and a less dignified 
occasion. 

Even in the field of death, and amid the mortal 
tug of combat itself, strong belief has wrought the 
same wonder, which we have hitherto mentioned as 
occurring m solitude and amid darkness ; and those 
who were themselves on the verge of the world of 
spirits, or employed in despatching others to these 
gloomy regions, conceived they beheld the appari- 
tions of those beings whom their national mytholooy 
associated with such scenes. In such moments of 
undecided battle, amid the violence, hurry, and con- 
fusion of ideas incident to the situation, the ancients 
supposed that they saw their deities Castor and 
Pollux fighting m the van for their encouragement ■ 
the heathen Scandinavian beheld the Choosers of the 
slain ; and the Catholics were no less easily led to 
recognise the warlike Saint George or Saint James 
in the very front of the strife, showing them the 
way to conquest. Such apparitions being Generally 
visible to a multitude, have in all times been supported 
by the greatest strength of testimony. When the 
common feeling of danger, and the animating burst 
of enthusiasm, act on the feelings of many men at 



22 LETTERS ON 

once, their minds hold a natural correspondence with 
each other, as it is said is the case with stringed 
instruments tuned to the same pitch, of which, when 
one is played, the chords of the others are supposed 
to vibrate in unison with the tones produced. If an 
artful or enthusiastic individual exclaims, in the heat 
of action, that he perceives an apparition of the 
romantic kind which has been intimated, his com- 
panions catch at the idea with emulation, and most 
are willing to sacrifice the conviction of their own 
senses, rather than allow that they did not witness 
the same favourable emblem, from which all draw 
confidence and hope. One warrior catches the idea 
from another ; all are alike eager to acknowledge the 
present miracle, and the battle is won before the mis- 
take is discovered. In such cases, the number of 
persons present, which would otherwise lead to 
detection of the fallacy, becomes the means of 
strengthening it. 

Of this disposition to see as much of the super- 
natural as is seen by others around, or, in other 
words, to trust to the eyes of others rather than to 
our own, we may take the liberty to quote two re- 
markable instances. 

The first is from the Historia Verdadera of Don 
Bernal Dias del Castillo, one of the companions of 
the celebrated Cortez, in his Mexican conquest. 
After having given an account of a great victory 
over extreme odds, he mentions the report inserted 
in the contemporary Chronicle of Gomara, that Saint 
lago had appeared on a white horse in van of the 
combat, and led on his beloved Spaniards to victory 
It is very curious to observe the Castilian cavalier's 
internal conviction, that the rumour arose out of a 
mistake, the cause of which he explains from his 
own observation; while at the same time he does 
not venture to disown the miracle. The honest 
Conquestador owns, that he himself did not see this' 
animating vision ; nay, that he beheld an individua 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 23 

cavalier, named Francisco de Morla, mounted on a 

chestnut horse, and fighting strenuously, in the very 

place where Saint James is said to have appeared. 

But instead of proceeding to draw the necessary in- 

, I ference, the devout Conquestador exclaims,—" Sinner 

t that I am, what am I that I should have beheld the 

» i blessed apostle !" 

The other instance of the infectious character of 
t superstition occurs in a Scottish book, and there 
j lean be little doubt that it refers, in its first origin, to 
s some uncommon appearance of the aurora bore alis, 
, or the northern lights, which do not appear to have 
a ; been seen in Scotland so frequently as to be ac- 
counted a common and familiar atmospherical phe- 
nomenon, until the beginning of the eighteenth 
century. The passage is striking and curious, for 
the narrator, Peter Walker, though an enthusiast, 
was a man of credit, and does not even affect to 
have seen the wonders, the reality of which he un- 
scrupulously adopts on the testimony of others, to 
I whose eyes he trusted rather than to his own. The 
jj conversion of the sKeptical gentleman of whom he 
,. speaks, is highly illustrative of popular credulity, 
earned away into enthusiasm, or into imposture, by 
„ the evidence of those around, and at once shows 
j the imperfection of such a general testimony, and 
,the ease with which it is procured, since the general 
I excitement of the moment impels even the more 
I cold-blooded and judicious persons present to catch 
„up the ideas, and echo the exclamations, of the 
^majority, who, from the first, had considered the 
f heavenly phenomenon as a supernatural wcapon- 
I schaw, held for the purpose of a sign and warning- 
j af civil wars to come. 

I "In the year 1686, in the months of June and 
| July," says the honest chronicler, " many yet alive 
ftan witness that about the Crossford Boat, two 
' f biles beneath Lanark, especially at the Mains, on 
| he water of Clyde, many people gathered together 



24 LETTERS ON" 

for several afternoons, where there were showera 
of bonnets, hats, guns, and swords, which covered 
the trees and the ground ; companies of men in I 
arms marching in order upon the water-side ; com- 
panies meeting companies, going all through other, 
and then all falling to the ground and disappearing ; 
other companies immediately appeared, marching the 
same way. I went there three afternoons together, 
and as I observed there were two-thirds of the 
people that were together saw, and a third that saw 
not, and though I could see nothing, there was such 
a fright and trembling on those that did see, that was 
discernible to all from those that saw not. There 
was a gentleman standing next to me, who spoke 
as too many gentlemen and others speak, who said, 
' A pack of "damned witches and warlocks that have 
the second sight! the devil ha't do I see ;' and imme- 
diately there was a discernible change in his coun- 
tenance. With as much fear and trembling as any 
woman I saw there, he called out, ' All you that do 
not see, say nothing ; for I persuade you it is matter 
of fact, and" discernible to all that are not stone-blind.' 
And those who did see told what works (*. e. locks) 
the guns had, and their length and wideness, and 
what handles the swords had, whether small or 
three-barred, or Highland guards, and the closing- 
knots of the bonnets, black or blue ; and those who 
did see them there, whenever they went abroad, 
saw a bonnet and a sword drop in the way."* 

This singular phenomenon, in which a multitude 
believed, although only two-thirds of them saw what 
must, if real, have been equally obvious to all, may 
be compared with the exploit of a humorist, who 
planted himself in an attitude of astonishment with 
his eyes riveted on the well-known bronze lion that 

* Walker's Lives, Edinburgh, 1827, vol. i. p. xxxvi. It is evident that 
honest Peter believed in the apparition of this martial sear, on the prin- 
ciple of Partrids:e's terror for the ghost of Hamlet— not that he was 
afraid himself, but because Garrick showed such evident marks of terror 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 25 

graces the front of Northumberland-house in the 
Strand, and having attracted the attention of those 
who looked at him by muttering, " By Heaven it 
wags !-it wags again !" contrived in a few minutes 
to blockade the whole street with an immense crowd, 
some conceiving that they had absolutely seen the 
lion of Percy wag his tail, others expecting to wit- 
ness the same phenomenon. 

On such occasions as we have hitherto mentioned, 
we have supposed that the ghost-seer has been in 
lull possession of his ordinary powers of perception, 
unless m the case of dreamers, in whom they may 
have been obscured by temporary slumber, and the 
possibility of correcting vagaries of the imagination 
rendered more difficult by want of the ordinary 
appeal to the evidence of the bodily senses. In 
other respects, their blood beat temperately, they 
possessed the ordinary capacity of ascertaining the 
.ruth, or discerning the falsehood, of externaf ap- 
pearances, by an appeal to the organ of si°ht ( Un- 
fortunately, however, as is now universally known 
and admitted, there certainly exists more than one 
disorder known to professional men, of which one 
important symptom is a disposition to see appa- 
ritions. ^ 

a iP iS / n / htful disorder is not properly insanity, 
a though it is somewhat allied to that most horri- 
ble of maladies, and may, in many constitutions, 
mstbe means of bringing it on, and although such 
lallucmations are proper to both. The difference 
conceive to be, that, in cases of insanity, the 
rnnd offfehe patient is principally affected, while 
he senses, or organic system, offer in vain to the 
unatic their decided testimony against the fantasy 

fthi ^n ?e ^ im u- ination - Perha P s the nature 
tffho colhsion-between a disturbed imagination 
tnd organs of sense- possessed of their usual accu- 
acy-cannot be better described than in the em- 
barrassment expressed by an insane patient con- 

Atlantic CnFt*fei®n CWI«$e Library 



26 LETTERS ON 

fined in the Infirmary of Edinburgh. The poo: 
man's malady had taken a gay turn. The house 
in his idea, was his own, and he contrived to ac 
count for all that seemed inconsistent with hi: 
imaginary right of property; — there were man} 
patients in it, but that was owing to the benevolent 
of his nature, which made him love to see the relieJ 
of distress. He went little, or rather never abroad- 
but then Ms habits were of a domestic and rathe: 
sedentary character. Fie did not see much company 
— but he daily received visits from the first character: 
in the renowned medical school of this city, and hi 
could not therefore be much in want of society 
With so many supposed comforts aiound him — wit 1 
so many visions of wealth and splendour, one thinj 
alone distmoed the peace of the poor optimist, an( 
would indeed have confounded most bans vivans,— 
" He was curious," he said, " in his table, choice ii 
his selection of cooks, had every day a dinner of thre< 
regular courses and a dessert ; and yet, somehow o: 
other, every thing he eat tasted of porridge.'''' This 
dilemma could be no great wonder to the friend t< 
whom the poor patient communicated it, who knev 
the lunatic eat nothing but this simple aliment at am 
of his meals. The case was obvious ; the diseasi 
lay in the extreme vivacity of the patient's imagina 
tion, deluded in other instances, yet not absoluteb 
powerful enough to contend with the honest evidenct 
of his stomach and palate, which, like Lord Peter'; 
biethren in the Tale of a Tub, were indignant at th< 
attempt to impose boiled oatmeal upon them, insteac 
of such a banquet as Ude would have displayed whei 
peers were to partake of it. Here, therefore, is on< 
instance of actual insanity, in which the sense ol 
taste controlled and attempted to restrain the idea 
hypothesis adopted by a deranged imagination. Eu 
the disorder to which I previously alluded is entirety 
of a bodily character, and consists principally in i 
disease of the visual organs, which present to the 



demoxologv and witchcraft. 27 

patient a set of spectres or appearances, which have 
no actual existence. It is a disease of the same na- 
ture, which renders many men incapable of distin- 
guishing colours; only the patients £ro a step farther, 
and pervert the external form of objects. In their 
case, theretore, contrary to that of the maniac, it is 
not the mind, or rather the imagination, which imposes 
upon and overpowers the evidence of the senses but 
the sense of seeing (or heanncr) which betrays its 
duty, and conveys false ideas to a sane intellect. 

More than one learned physician, who have oiven 
their attestations to the existence of this most dis- 
tressing complaint, have agreed that it actually oc- 
curs, and is occasioned by different causes. "The 
most frequent source of the malady is in the dissi- 
pated and intemperate habits of "those who. by a 
continued series of intoxication, become subject' to 
what is popularly called the Blue Devils, instances 
of which mental disorder may be known to most who 
have lived for any period of their lives in society 
where hard-drinking was a common vice. The 
joyous visions suggested by intoxication when the 
habit is first acquired, in time disappear, and are sup- 
plied by frightful impressions and scenes, which 
destroy the tranquillity of the unhappy debauchee. 
Apparitions of the most unpleasant appearance are 
his companions in solitude, and intrude even upon 
his hours of society; and when by an alteration of 
habits, the mind is cleared of these frightful ideas, it 
requires but the slightest renewal of the association 
to bnn ? back the lull tide of misery upon the re- 
pentant libertine. - F 

Of this the following instance was told to the au- 
tnor b> a gentleman connected with the sufferer k 
young man of fortune, who had led what is called s~o 
S3 ft aS eonsider fbly to mjure both his health 

E£ A P ont , h £. me *ns of restoring at least the 
former. One of his principal complaints was the 



28 LETTERS ON 

frequent presence of a set of apparitions, resembling 
a band of figures dressed in green, who performed 
in his drawing-room a singular dance, to which he 
was compelled to bear witness, though he knew, to 
his great annoyance, that the whole corps de ballet 
existed only in his own imagination. His physician 
immediately informed him that he had lived upon 
town too long and too fast not to require an exchange 
to a more healthy and natural course of life. He 
therefore prescribed a gentle course of medicine, but 
earnestly recommended to his patient to retire to his 
own house in the country, observe a temperate diet 
and early hours, practising regular exercise, on the 
same principle avoiding fatigue, and assured him that 
by doing so he might bid adieu to black spirits and 
white, blue, green, and gray, with all their trumpery, 
The patient observed the advice, and prospered. His 
physician, after the interval of a month, received a 
grateful letter from him, acknowledging the success 
of his regimen. The green goblins had disappeared, 
and with them the unpleasant train of emotions to 
which their visits had given rise, and the patient had 
ordered his town-house to be disfurnished and sold, 
while the furniture was to be sent down to his resi- 
dence in the country, where he was determined in 
future to spend his life, without exposing himself to 
the temptations of town. One would have supposed 
this a well-devised scheme for health. But, alas ! 
no sooner had the furniture of the London drawing- 
room been placed in order in the gallery of the old 
manor-house, than the former delusion returned in full 
force ! the green figurante, whom the patient's de- 
praved imagination had so long associated with these 
moveables, came capering and frisking to accompany 
them, exclaiming with great glee, as if the sufferer 
should have been rejoiced to see them, " Here we all 
are — here we all are !" The visionary, if I recollect 
right, was so much shocked at their appearance, that 
he retired abroad, in despair that any part of Britain 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 29 

could shelter him from the daily persecution of this 
domestic ballette. 

There is reason to believe that such cases are nu- 
merous, and that they may perhaps arise, not only 
from the debility of stomach brought on by excess 
in wine or spirits, which derangement often sensibly 
affects the eyes and sense of sight, but also because 
the mind becomes habitually predominated over by 
a train of fantastic visions, the consequence of fre- 
quent intoxication; and is thus, like a dislocated 
joint, apt again to go wrong, even when a different 
cause occasions the derangement. 

It is easy to be supposed that habitual excitement 
by means of any other intoxicating drug-, as opium, 
or its various substitutes, must expose "those who 
practise the dangerous custom to the same incon- 
venience. Very frequent use of the nitrous oxide, 
which affects the senses so strongly, and produces a 
short but singular state of ecstasy, would probably be 
found to occasion this species of disorder. But there 
are many other causes which medical men find 
attended with the same symptom, of imbodying- before 
the eyes of a patient imaginary illusions which are 
visible to no one else. This persecution of spectral 
deceptions is also found to exist when no excesses of 
the patient can be alleged as the cause, owing, doubt- 
less, to a deranged state of the blood, or nervous 
system. 

The learned and acute Dr. Ferriar, of Manchester, 
was the first who brought before the English public 
the leading case, as it may be called, in this depart- 
ment, namely, that of Mons. Nicolai, the celebrated 
bookseller of Berlin. This gentleman was not a man 
merely of books, but of letters, and' .had the moral 
courage to lay before the Philosophical Society of 
Berlin an account of his own suffering's, from having 
been, by disease, subjected to a series of spectral 
illusions. The leading circumstances of this case 
may be stated very shortly, as it has been repeatedly 



30 LETTERS ON 

before the public, and is insisted on by Dr. Ferriar, Dr. 
Hibbert, and others who have assumed Demonology 
as a subject. Nicolai traces his illness remotely to 
a series of disagreeable incidents which had happened 
to him in the beginning of the year 1791. The 
depression of spirit which was occasioned by these 
unpleasant occurrences was aided by the consequences 
of neglecting a course of periodical bleeding which 
he had been accustomed to observe. This state of 
health brought on the disposition to see phantasmata, 
who visited, or it may be more properly said fre- 
quented, the apartments of the learned bookseller, pre- 
senting crowds of persons who moved and acted 
before him, nay, even spoke to and addressed him. 
These phantoms afforded nothing unpleasant to the 
imagination of the visionary either in sight or expres- 
sion, and the patient was possessed of too much 
firmness to be otherwise affected by their presence 
than with a species of curiosity, as he remained con- 
vinced, from the beginning to the end of the disorder, 
that these singular effects were merely symptoms of 
the state of his health, and did not in any other respect 
regard them as a subject of apprehension. After a 
certain time, and some use of medicine, the phantoms 
became less distinct in their outline, less vivid in 
their colouring, faded, as it were, on the eye of the 
patient, and at length totally disappeared. 

The case of Nicolai has unquestionably been that 
of many whose love of science has not been able to 
overcome their natural reluctance to communicate to 
the public the particulars attending the visitation of 
a disease so peculiar. That such illnesses have been 
experienced, and have ended fatally, there can be no 
doubt ; though it is by no means to be inferred, that 
the svmptom of importance to our present discussion 
has, on all occasions, been produced from the same 
identical cause. 

Dr. Hibbert, who has most ingeniously, as well as 
philosophically, handled this subject, has treated it,, 



DEMOXOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 31 

also in a medical point of view, with science to which 
we make no pretence, and a precision of detail to 
which our superficial investigation affords us no room 
tor extending ourselves. 

The visitation of spectral phenomena is described 
by this learned gentleman as incidental to sundry 
complaints ; and he mentions, in particular, that the 
symptom occurs not only in plethora, as in the case 
of the learned Prussian we have just mentioned, but 
is a requent hectic sympton— often an associate of 
febrile and inflammatory disorders— frequently arcom- 
panyingmflammation of the brain-a concomitant also 
ol highly excited nervous irritability-equal ly con- 
nected with hypochondria— and finally, united in some 
cases with gout, and in others with the effects of 
excitation produced by several gases. In all these 
cases there seems to be a morbid degree of sensibility, 
with which this symptom is ready to ally itself, and 
which though inaccurate as a medical definition, may 
be held sufficiently descriptive of one character of the 
vanous kinds of disorder with which this painful 
symptom may be found allied. 

A very singular and interesting illustration of such 
combinations as Dr. Hibbert has recorded of the 
spectral illusion with an actual disorder, and that of 
a dangerous kind, was frequently related in society 
by the late learned and accomplished Dr. Gregory 
of Edinburgh, and sometimes, I believe, quoted by 
him m his lectures. The narrative, to the author's 
best recollection, was as follows :-A patient of Dr 
Gregory, a person, it is understood, of some rank' 
having requested the Doctor's advice, made the fol- 
< H in ^Tk 11 ^ statement of his complaint. 

exaha ht' r Smd ' " ° f dining at five ' and 
f« ^ v n hour of S1X ar nves, I am subjected 

to the following painful visitation. The door of the 

twhic e h e T n h WhenI haVC beenw eak enough to bolt 
Al fw rl "detunes done, flies wide open ; an 
3ld hag, hke one of those who haunted the heath of 



32 LETTERS ON 

Forres, enters with a frowning and incensed counte- 
nance, comes straight up to me with every demon- 
stration of spite and indignation which could cha- 
racterize her who haunted the merchant Abudah, m 
the Oriental tale ; she rushes upon me ; says some- 
thin-, but so hastily that I cannot discover the pur- 
port! and then strikes me a severe blow with her 
staff I fall from my chair in a swoon, which is ol 
longer or shorter endurance. To the recurrence of 
this apparition I am daily subjected. And such is 
mv new and singular complaint." The Doctoi 
immediately asked, whether his patient had invited 
any one to sit with him when he expected such a 
visitation '? He was answered in the negative. 1 he 
nature of the complaint, he said, was so singular, it 
was so likely to be imputed to fancy, or even to 
mental derangement, that he shrunk from — i- 
eating the circumstance to any one Then, saa 
the Doctor, "with your permission, I will dine with 
you to-day, tete-a-tete, and we will see if your malig- 
nant old woman will venture to join our company. 
The patient accepted the proposal with hope and 
gratitude, for he had expected ridicule rather than 
svmpathy. They met at dinner, and Doctor Gregory, 
who suspected some nervous disorder, exerted his 
powers of conversation, well known to be ot the 
most varied and brilliant character, to keep the 
attention of his host engaged, and prevent him from 
£ ink tog on the approach of the fated hour, to which 
he was accustomed to look forward with so much 
teiror. He succeeded in his purpose better than he 
had hoped. The hour of six came almost unnoticed, 
and it was hoped, might pass away without any evil 
consequence ; but it was scarce a moment struck when 
the ownej of the house exclaimed, m an alarmed 
V0 i C e_« The hag comes again !" and dropped back 
in his chair in a swoon, in the way he had ^himself 
described. The physician caused him to be Jet blood, 
and satisfied himself that the periodical shocks of 



DEMCNOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 33 

which his patient complained, arose from a tendency 
to apoplexy. 

The phantom with the crutch was only a species 
of machinery, such as that with which fancy is found 
to supply the disorder called Ephialtes, or nightmare, 
or indeed any other external impression upon our 
organs in sleep, which the patient's morbid imagina- 
tion may introduce into the dream preceding the 
swoon. In the nightmare an oppression and suffo- 
cation is felt, and our fancy instantly conjures up a 
spectre to lie on our bosom. In like manner, it may 
be remarked, that any sudden noise which the slum- 
berer hears, without being actually awakened by it 
—any casual touch of his person occurring in the 
same manner— becomes instantly adopted in his 
dream, and accommodated to the tenor of the cur- 
rent train of thought, whatever that may happen to 
be ; and nothing is more remarkable than the rapidity 
with which imagination supplies a complete expla- 
nation of the interruption, according to the previous 
train of ideas expressed in the dream, even when 
scarce a moment of time is allowed for that purpose. 
In dreaming, for example, of a duel, the external 
sound becomes, in the twinkling of an eye, the dis- 
charge of the combatants' pistols ;— is an orator ha- 
ranguing in his sleep, the sound becomes the ap- 
plause of his supposed audience; — is the dreamer 
wandering among supposed ruins, the noise is that 
of the fall of some part of the mass. In short an 
explanatory system is adopted during sleep with 
such extreme rapidity, that supposing the intruding 
alarm to have been the first call of some person to 
awaken the slumberer, the explanation, though requir- 
ing some process of argument or deduction, is usually 
formed and perfect before the second effort of the 
speaker has restored the dreamer to the waking world 
and its realities. So rapid and intuitive is the succes- 
sionof ideas insleep, as to remind us of the vision of the 
prophet Mahommed, in which he saw the whole won- 



34 LETTERS ON 

ders of heaven andhell.thoughthe jar of water which 
fell when his ecstasy commenced had not spilled its 
contents when he returned to ordinary existence. 

\ second and equally remarkable instance was 
communicated to the author by the medical man un- 
der whose observation it fell, but who was, of course, 
desirous to keep private the name of the hero of so 
singular a history. Of the friend by whom the facts 
were attested, I can only say, that if I found myself 
at liberty to name him, the rank which he holds in 
his profession, as well as his attainments in science 
and philosophy, form an undisputed claim to the 
most implicit credit. 

It was the fortune of this gentleman to be called 
in to attend the illness of a person now long deceased, 
who in his lifetime stood, as 1 understand, high 
in a particular department of the law, which often 
placed the piopertv of others at his discretion and 
control, and whose* conduct, therefore, being open to 
public observation, he had for many years borne the 
character of a man of unusual steadiness, good sense, 
and integrity. He was. at the time of my friend's 
visits, confined principally to his sick-room, some- 
limes to bed. vet occasionally attending to business, 
and exerting his mind, apparently with all its usual 
strength and energy, to the conduct of important 
affairs intrusted to him ; nor did there, to a superficial 
observer, appear any thins in his conduct, while so 
engaged, that could* argue vacillation of intellect, or 
depre'ssion of mind. His outward symptoms of ma- 
lady argued no acute or alarming disease. But slow- 
ness of pulse, absence of appetite, difficulty of diges- 
tion, and constant depression of spirits, seemed to 
draw their origin from some hidden cause, which the 
patient was determined to conceal. The deep gloom 
of the unfortunate gentleman— the embarrassment, 
which he could not conceal from his friendly physi- 
eian — tlie briefness and obvious constraint with 
which he answered the interrogations of his medical 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 35 

adviser; induced my friend to take other methods for 
prosecuting his inquiries. He applied to the suf- 
ferer s family, to learn, if possible, the source of that 
secret grief which was gnawing the heart and suck- 
mg the life-blood of his unfortunate patient. The per- 
sons applied to, after conversing together previously, 
denied all knowledge of any cause for the burden 
which obviously affected their relative. So far as 
they _ knew— and they thought they could hardly be 
deceived— his worldly affairs were prosperous ; no fa- 
mily loss had occurred which could be followed with 
such persevering distress ; no entanglements of affec- 
tion could be supposed to apply to his age, and no 
sensation of severe remorse could be consistent with 
Ins character. The medical gentleman had finally re- 
course to serious argument with the invalid himself 
and urged to him the folly of devoting himself to a 
lingering and melancholy death, rather than tell the 
mbject of affliction which was thus wasting him 
He specially pressed upon him the injury which he 
-vas doing to bis own character, by suffering it to be 
nferred that the secret cause of his dejection and its 
:onsequences was something too scandalous or fla- 
gitious to be made known, bequeathing in this man- 
ler to his family a suspected and dishonoured name 
ind leaving a memory with which might be asso- 
ciated the idea of guilt, which the criminal had died 
vithout confessing. The patient, more moved by 
his species of appeal than by any which had yet 
ipen urged, expressed his desire to speak out frankly 
,° Ur ' " • Evei 7 on e else was removed, and the 
loor ol the sick-room made secure, when he be°-an 
us confession in the following manner:— 

"You cannot, my dear friend, be more conscious 
nan 1, that I am in the course of dying under the 
ppression of the fatal disease which consumes my 
ital powers ; but neither can you understand the na- 
me ol my complaint, and manner in which it acts 
pon me, nor, if you did, I fear, could your zeal and 



36 LETTERS ON 

skill avail to rid me of it." — " It is possible," said the 
physician, " that my skill may not equal my wish of ' 
serving you; yet medical science has many resources, 
of which those unacquainted with its powers ne- i 
ver can form an estimate. But until you plainly 
tell me your symptoms, of complaint, it is impossible 
for either of us to say what may or may not be in 
my power, or within that of medicine." — "I may 
answer you," replied the patient, "that my case is 
not a singular one, since we read of it in the famous 
novel of Le Sage. You remember, doubtless, the dis- 
ease of which the Duke d'Olivarez is there stated to 
have died ]" — " Of the idea," answered the medical 
gentleman, " that he was haunted by an apparition, 
to the actual existence of Avhich he gave no credit, 
but died, nevertheless, because he was overcome and I 
heart-broken by its imaginary presence." — " I, my 
dearest Doctor," said the sick man, " am in that very 
case ; and so painful and abhorrent is the presence of 
the persecuting vision, that my reason is totally in- 
adequate to combat the effects of my morbid imagina- 
tion, and I am sensible I am dying, a wasted victim l 
to an imaginary disease." The medical gentleman 
listened with anxiety to his patient's statement, and 
for the present judiciously avoiding any contradic- 
tion of the sick man's preconceived fancy, contented 
himself with more minute inquiry into the nature of 
the apparition with which he conceived himself 
haunted, and into the history of the mode by which 
so singular a disease had made itself master of his 
imagination, secured, as it seemed, by strong powers 
of the understanding, against an attack so irregular. 
The sick person replied by stating, that its advances 
were gradual, and at first not of a terrible or even 
disagreeable character. To illustrate this, he gave 
the following account of the progress of his disease. 
" My visions," he said, " commenced two or three 
years since, when I found myself from time to time 
embarrassed by the presence of a large cat, which 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 37 

came and disappeared I could not exactly tell how, 
till the truth was finally forced upon me, and I was 
compelled to regard it as no domestic household cat, 
but as a bubble of the elements, which had no ex- 
istence save in my deranged visual organs, or de- 
praved imagination. Still I had not that positive ob- 
jection to the animal entertained by a late gallant 
Highland chieftain, who has been seen to change to 
all the colours of his own plaid, if a cat by accident 
iiappened to be in the room with him, even though 
lie did not see it. On the contrary, I am rather a 
friend to cats, and endured with so much equanimity 
the presence of my imaginary attendant, that it had 
become almost indifferent to me ; when within the 
course of a few months it gave place to, or was suc- 
ceeded by, a spectre of a more important sort, or 
which at least had a more imposing appearance. 
This was no other than the apparition of a gentle- 
man-usher, dressed as if to wait upon a Lord-Lieu- 
tenant of Ireland, a Lord High Commissioner of the 
Kirk, or any other who bears on his brow the rank 
and stamp of delegated sovereignty. 

" This personage, arrayed in a court-dress, with 
bag and sword, tamboured waistcoat, and chapeau- 
bras, glided beside me like the ghost of Beau Nash ; 
and whether in my own house or in another, as- 
cended the stairs before me, as if to announce me in 
the drawing-room ; and at some times appeared to 
mingle with the company, though it was sufficiently 
evident that they were not aware of his presence, 
and that I alone was sensible of the visionary 
honours which this imaginary being seemed desirous 
to render me. This freak of the fancy did not pro- 
duce much impression on me, though it led me to 
entertain doubts on the nature of my disorder, and 
alarm for the effect it might produce upon my intel- 
lects. But that modification of my disease also had 
its appointed duration. After a few months, the 
phantom of the gentleman-usher was seen no more, 
D 



3ft LETTERS ON 

but was succeeded by one horrible to the sight, and 
distressing to the imagination, being no other than 
the image of death itself — the apparition of a skeleton. 
Alone or in company," said the unfortunate invalid, 
" the presence of this last phantom never quits me. 
I in vain tell myself a hundred times over that it is 
no reality, but merely an image summoned up by the 
morbid acuteness of my own excited imagination, 
and deranged organs of sight. But what avail such 
reflections, while the emblem at once and presage 
of mortality is before my eyes, and while I feel 
myself, though in fancy only, the companion of a 
phantom representing a ghastly inhabitant of the 
grave, even while 1 yet breathe on the earth 1 Science, 
philosophy, even religion has no cure for such a dis- 
order ; and I feel too surely that I shall die the vic- 
tim to so melancholy a disease, although I have no 
belief whatever in the reality of the phantom which 
it places before me." 

The physician was distressed to perceive, from 
these details, how strongly this visionary apparition 
was fixed in the imagination of his patient. He in- 
geniously urged the sick man, who was then in bed, 
with questions concerning the circumstances of the 
phantom's appearance, trusting he might lead him, 
as a sensible man, into such contradictions and in- 
consistencies as might bring his common sense, 
which seemed to be unimpaired, so strongly into the 
field, as might combat successfully the fantastic 
disorder which produced such fatal effects. " This 
skeleton, then," said the Doctor, " seems to you to 
be always present to your eyes ]" — " It is my fate, 
unhappily," answered the invalid, " always to see it." 
— " Then I understand," continued the physician, " it 
is now present to your imagination 1 ?" — "To my 
imagination it certainly is so," replied the sick man. 
— "And in what part of the chamber do you now 
conceive the apparition to appear?" the physician 
inquired. "Immediately at the foot of my bed; 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 3V 

when the curtains are left a little open," answered 
the invalid, " the skeleton, to my thinking, is placed 
between them, and fills the vacant space." — " You 
say you are sensible of the delusion," said his friend ; 
'■have you firmness to convince yourself of the truth 
of this 1 Can you take courage enough to rise and 
place yourself in the spot so seeming to be occupied, 
and convince yourself of the illusion 1" The poor 
man sighed, and shook his head negatively. " Well," 
said the doctor, " we will try the experiment other- 
wise." Accordingly, he rose from his chair by the 
bedside, and placing himself between the two balf- 
drawn curtains at the foot of the bed, indicated as 
the place occupied by the apparition, asked if the 
spectre was still visible 1 " Not entirely so," replied 
the patient, "because your person is between him and 
me; but I observe his scull peering above your 
shoulder." 

It is alleged the man of science started on the 
instant, despite philosophy, on receiving an answer 
ascertaining, with such minuteness, that the ideal 
spectre was close to his own person. He resorted 
to other means of investigation and cure, but with 
equally indifferent success. The patient sunk into 
deeper and deeper dejection, and died in the same 
distress of mind in which he had spent the latter 
months of his life ; and his case remains a melan- 
choly instance of the power of imagination to kill 
the body, even when its fantastic terrors cannot over- 
come the intellect of the unfortunate persons who 
suffer under them. The patient, in the present case, 
sunk under his malady; and the circumstances of 
his singular disorder remaining concealed, he did 
not, by his death and last illness, lose any of the 
well-merited reputation for prudence and sagacity 
which had attended him during the whole course of 
his life. 

Having added these two remarkable instances to 
the general train of similar facts quoted by Ferriar, 



40 LETTERS ON 

Hibbert, and other writers, who have more recently 
considered the subject, there can, we think, be little 
doubt of the proposition, that the external organs 
may, from various causes, become so much deranged, 
as to make false representations to the mind ; and 
that, in such cases, men, in the literal sense, really 
see the empty and false forms, and hear the ideal 
sounds, which, in a more primitive state of society, 
are naturally enough referred to the action of demons 
or disimbodied spirits. In such unhappy cases, the 
patient is intellectually in the condition of a general 
whose spies have been bribed by the enemy, and 
who must engage himself in the difficult and delicate 
task of examining and correcting, by his own powers 
of argument, the probability of the reports which 
are too inconsistent to be trusted to. 

But there is a corollary to this proposition, which 
is worthy of notice. The same species of organic 
derangement which, as a continued habit of his 
deranged vision, presented the subject of our last 
tale with the successive apparitions of his cat, his 
gentleman-usher, and the fatal skeleton, may occupy, 
for a brief or almost momentaiy space, the vision of 
men who are otherwise perfectly clear-sighted. 
Transitory deceptions are thus presented to the 
organs, which, when they occur to men of strength 
of mind and of education, give way to scrutiny, and, 
their character being once investigated, the true takes 
the place of the unreal representation. But in igno- 
rant times, those instances in which any object is 
misrepresented, whether through the action of the 
senses, or of the imagination, or the combined influ- 
ence of both, for however short a space of time, may 
be admitted as direct evidence of a supernatural 
apparition ; a proof the more difficult to be disputed, 
if the phantom has been personally witnessed by a 
man of sense and estimation, who, perhaps, satisfied 
in the general as to the actual existence of appari- 
tions, has not taken time or trouble to correct his 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 41 

first impressions. This species of deception is so 
frequent, that one of the greatest poets of the pre- 
sent time answered a lady who asked him if he 
believed in ghosts, — "No, madam; I have seen 
;too many myself." I may mention one or two 
instances of the kind, to which no doubt can be 
attached. 

The first shall be the apparition of Maupertuis 
to a brother professor in the Royal Society of 
Berlin. 

This extraordinary circumstance appeared in the 
Transactions of the Society, but is thus stated by M. 
Thiebault, in his "Recollections of Frederick the 
Great and the Court of Berlin." It is necessary to 
premise that M. Gleditsch,to whom the circumstance 
happened, was a botanist of eminence, holding the 
professorship of natural philosophy at Berlin, and 
respected as a man of an habitually serious, simple, 
and tranquil character. 

A short time after the death of Maupertuis,* M. 
Gleditsch being obliged to traverse the hall in which 
the Academy held its sittings, having some arrange- 
ments to make in the cabinet of natural history, 
which was under his charge, and being willing to 
complete them on the Thursday before the meeting, 
he perceived, on entering the hall, the apparition of 
M. de Maupertuis, upright and stationary, in the first 
angle on his left hand, having his eyes fixed on him. 
This was about three o'clock m the afternoon. The 
professor of natural philosophy was too well ac- 
quainted with physical science to suppose that his 
late president, who had died at Bale, in the family 
of Messrs. Bernoullie, could have found his way back 
to Berlin in person. He regarded the apparition in 
no other light than as a phantom produced by some 

* Lons the president of the Berlin Academy, and much favoured by 
Frederick II. , till he was overwhelmed by the ridicule of Voltaire. He 
retired, in a species of disgrace, to his native country of Switzerland, 
and died there shortly afterward. 

D2 



42 LETTERS ON 

derangement of his own proper organs. M. Gleditsch 
went to his own business, without stopping longer 
than to ascertain exactly the appearance of that 
object. But he related the vision to his brethren, 
and assured them that it was as defined and perfect 
as the actual person of Maupertuis could have pre- 
sented. When it is recollected that Maupertuis died 
at a distance from Berlin, once the scene of his tri- 
umphs — overwhelmed by the petulant ridicule of 
Voltaire, and out of favour with Frederick, with 
whom to be ridiculous was to be worthless — we can 
hardly wonder at the imagination even of a man of 
physical science calling up his Eidolon in the hall of 
his former greatness. 

The sober-minded professor did not, however, 
push his investigation to the point to which it was! 
carried by a gallant soldier, from whose mouth a par- 
ticular friend of the author received the following 
circumstances of a similar story. 

Captain C was a native of Britain, but bred 

in the Irish Brigade. He was a man of the most 
dauntless courage, which he displayed in some un- 
commonly desperate adventures during the first 
years of the French Revolution, being repeatedly 
employed by the royal family in very dangerous 
commissions. After the King's death he came over 
to England, and it was then the following circum- 
stance took place. 

Captain C was a Catholic, and, in his hour 

of adversity at least, sincerely attached to the duties 
of his religion. His confessor was a clergyman who 
was residing as chaplain to a man of rank in the 
west of England, about four miles from the place 

where Captain C lived. On riding over one 

morning to see this gentleman, his penitent had the 
misfortune to find him very ill from a dangerous com- 
plaint. He retired in great distress and apprehension 
of his friend's life, and the feeling brought back upon 
him many other painful and disagreeable recollec- 



DEMOXOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 43 

lions. These occupied him till the hour of retiring 
to bed, when, to his great astonishment, he saw in the 
room the figure of the absent confessor. He ad- 
dressed it, but received no answer— the eyes alone 
were impressed by the appearance. Determined to 

push the matter to the end, Captain C advanced 

on the phantom, which appeared to retreat gradually 
before him. In this manner he followed it round the 
bed, when it seemed to sink down on an elbow chair 
and remain there in a sitting posture. To ascertain 
positively the nature of the apparition, the soldier 
umself sat down on the same chair, ascertaining 
thus beyond question, that the whole was illusion" 
yet he owned that, had his friend died about the same 
:ime, he would not well have known what name to 
rive to his vision. But as the confessor recovered, 
md, in Dr. Johnson's phrase, "nothing came of it " 
ne incident was only remarkable as showing that 
nen of the strongest nerves are not exempted from 
iuch delusions. 

Another illusion of the same nature we have the 
-est reason for vouching as a fact, though, for certain 
easons, we do not give the names of the parties 

u J° n A, after the death of a Iate illustrious poet, 
rtio had filled, while living, a great station in the eye 
t the public, a literary friend, to whom the deceased 
ad been well known, was en^ed, during the dark- 
ning twilight of an autumn evening, in perusino- one 
f the publications which piofessed to detail the 
abits and opinions of the distinguished individual 
'no was now no more. As the reader had enjoyed 
ie intimacy of the deceased to a considerable decree 
e was deeply interested in the publication, which 
Dntains some particulars relating to himself and 
tner inends. A visiter was sitting in the apartment, 
•ho was also engaged in reading. Their sitting 
)om opened into an entrance-hall, rather fantastl- 
dly fitted up with articles of armour, skins of wild 
nmals, and the like. It was when laying down his 



44 LETTERS ON 

book, and passing into this hall, through which the 
moon was beginning to shine, that the individual ol 
whom I speak, saw, right before him, and in a stand- 
ing posture, the exact representation of his departed 
friend, whose recollection had been so strongly 
brought to his imagination. He stopped for a single 
moment, so as to notice the wonderful accuracy with 
which fancy had impressed upon the bodily eye the 
peculiarities of dress and posture of the illustrious 
poet. Sensible, however, of the delusion, he felt no 
sentiment save that of wonder at the extraordinary 
accuracy of the resemblance, and stepped onwards 
towards" the figure, which resolved itself, as he ap 
proached. into the various materials of which it wai 
composed. These were merely a screen, occupiec 
by great-coats, shawls, plaids, and such other article, 
as usually are found in a country entrance-hall. 1 n< ; 
spectator returned to the spot from which he had seer 
the illusion, and endeavoured, with all his power, tc 
recall the inWe which had been so singularly vivid 
But this was beyond his capacity, and the person 
who had witnessed the apparition, or, more properly 
whose excited state had been the means of raisin!, 
it, hadonlv to return into the apartment, and tell hi 
young friend under what a striking hallucination hi 
had for a moment laboured. 

There is every reason to believe that instances o 
this kind are frequent among persons of a certai: 
temperament, and when such occur in an early penoi 
of society, they are almost certain to be considered a 
real supernatural appearances. They differ iror 
t^ose of Nicolai, and others formerly noticed, as bem 
of short duration, and constituting no habitual or con 
stitutional derangement of the system. The appa 
rition of Maupertuis to Monsieur Gleditsch, that o 

the Catholic clerarvman to Captain C , that of 

late poet to his friend, are of the latter charactei 
They bear to the former the analogy, as we may say 
which a sudden and temporary fever-fit has to a senou 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 45 

feverish illness. But, even for this very reason it io 

E e , dl ^ CUlt t0 1 tain « such momentlr^iSpres Sons 
back to their real sphere of optical illusions Se Jhev 
accord much better with our idea of SSffiS 
future world than those in which the%islon is con 
tinned or repeated for hours, days, and months af" 

KKfthSf 8 ° f t C ° Venn ^ from other'c r : 
Sth symptom originates in deranged 

lions' Sfhf™* theSe observa ^ S upon the de- 

Ke s the or SenS6S ' We mUSt remark ' that the 
.ye is the organ most essential to the purpose of 

RSthT T d S e a ? pearance of SSobl 

Satedforl ^ t n thevisual or ^n becomes de- 
prayed lor a greater or less time, and to a farther or 

C rS e ? ent ' ? ™ isre P— ntatron o/theob 
lects of sight is peculiarly apt to terminate in such 
lallucinations as those we have been detading Yet 
he other senses or organs, in their turn, and to he ex 
ent of their power, are as ready, in their various de- 
partments, as the sight itself, to retain false or doubtful 
mpressions, which mislead, instead of inVormi m 
he party to whom they are addressed. UU ° imm °> 
Thus, in regard to the ear, the next organ in im- 
portance to the eye, we are repeatedly dlceived by 
uch sounds as are imperfectly gathered up SdemJ 
eously apprehended. From the false impressions 
beeived from this organ, also, arise consequences 
imilar to those derived from erroneous reports made 
y the organs of sight. A whole class of supS 

Z^tT ameS r ar T' Endare pounded upon inac. 
■urate and imperfect hearing. To tlie excited ^ 
nperfect state of the ear, we owe he exSteno^nf 
mat Milton sublimely calls e ^stence of 

The airy tongues that syllable men's names, 
On shores, In desert sands, and wildernesses. 

hese also appear such natural causes of alarm that 
e do not sympathize more readily with Robinson 



46 LETTERS ON 

Crusoe's apprehensions when he witnesses the prim 

of the savage's foot in the sand, than in those whicfc 

arise from his being waked from sleep by some ont 

calling his name in the solitary island, where there 

existed no man but the shipwrecked mariner himself 

Amid the train of superstitions deduced from the 

imperfections of the ear, we may quote that visionary 

summons which the natives of the Hebrides acknow 

ledged as one sure sign of approaching fate. Th< 

voice of some absent or, probably, some deceasec 

relative was, in such cases, heard as repeating th< 

party's name. Sometimes the aerial summoner inti 

mated his own death, and at others it was no uncom 

mon circumstance that the person who fancied him 

self so called, died in consequence ;— for the sam 

reason that the negro pines to death who is lai< 

under the ban of an Obi woman, or the Cambro-Bri, 

ton, whose name is put into the famous cursing well 

with the usual ceremonies, devoting him to the in 

fernal gods, wastes away and dies, as one doome<> 

to do so. It may be remarked also, that Dr. Johnsoi 

retained a deep impression that, while he was open 

ing the door of his college chambers, he heard th< 

voice of his mother, then at many miles' distance 

call him by his name ; and it appears he was rathe 

disappointed that no event of consequence followed ; 

summons sounding so decidedly supernatural. It i 

unnecessary to dwell on this sort of auricular de 

ception, of which most men's recollection will sup 

ply instances. The following may be stated as on 

serving to show by what slender accidents the humai 

ear may be imposed upon. The author was walking i 

about two years since, in a wild and solitary seen 

with a young friend, who laboured under the infirm 

ity of a severe deafness, when he heard what he con 

ceived to be the cry of a distant pack of hounds 

sounding intermittedly. As the season was summer 

this, on a moment's reflection, satisfied the heare 

that it could not be the clamour of an actual chase 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 47 

md yet his ears repeatedly brought back the sup. 
^osed cry. He called upon his own dogs, of which 
wo or three were with the walking party. Thev 
Wne m quietly and obviously had no accession to 
he sounds winch had caught the author's attention, 
; o that he could not help saying to his companion 

I T m ,n°!? ly f f rr> - f0r 7 0ur iiliirait y at this moment 
? i' -?\ S otherwise have let you hear the cry of 
he W ild Huntsman." As the young gentleman used 
hearing tube, he turned when spoken to, and in 
omg so the cause of the phenomenon became appa- 
ent. The supposed distant sound was in fact a ni>h 
ne, being the singing of the wind in the instrument 
hich the young gentleman was obliged to use, but 
hich,fromyanouscircumstances,hadneveroccurred 
ad heard 61 M J t0 P roduce the so ™ d « he 

_ It is scarce necessary to add, that the highly ima- 
mative superstition of the Wild Huntsman in Ger- 
lany seems to have had its origin in strong fancy, 
peratmg upon the auricular deceptions, respecting 
ie numerous sounds likely to occur in the dark re- 
uses of pathless forests. The same clew may be 
.und to the kindred Scottish belief, so finely imbo- 
led by the nameless author of " Albania :"— 

"There, since of old the haughty Thanes of Ross 
Were wont, with clans and ready vassals throng'd 
T o wake the bounding stag, or guilty wolf ° ' 

There oft is heard at midnight or at noon, 
«egirininn faint, but rising still more loud, 
And louder, voice of hunters, and of hounds, 
And horns hoarsewindea, blowing far and keen 
Forthwith the hubbub multiplies, the air 
labours with louder shouts and ri:'er din 
ur close pursuit, the broken cry of deer 

A^d^f y ,i"- r ? t 'i ing - dogs > the sh,,uts of men > 
S,Xen f ' t,l,( *- be ? t '"g on the hollow hill : ' 
Ridden the grazing heifer in the vale 
Starts at the tumult, and the herdsman's ears 
Tingle with inward dread. Aghast he eves 
The upland ridge, and every mountain round, 
But not one trace of living wight discerns, ' 
Nor knows, o'erawed and trembling as he stands, 



48 LETTERS ON 

To what or whom he owes his idle fear — 

To ghost, to witch, to fairy, or to fiend, 

But wonders, and no end of wondering finds."* 

It must also be remembered, that to the auricula] 
deceptions practised by the means of ventriloquisrr 
or otherwise, may be traced many of the most sue 
cessful impostures which credulity has received as 
supernatural communications. 

The sense of touch seems less liable to perversior 
than either that of sight or smell, nor are there man} 
cases in which it can become accessary to such fals( 
intelligence, as the eye and ear, collecting their ob 
jects from a greater distance, and by less accurate 
inquiry, are but too ready to convey. Yet there is 
one circumstance in which the sense of touch as wel 
as others is very apt to betray its possessor into in 
accuracy, in respect to the circumstances which i 
impresses on its owner. The case occurs during 
sleep, when the dreamer touches with his hand som< 
other part of his own person. He is clearly, in thif 
case, both the actor and patient, both the proprieto 
-jf the member touching, and of that which is touched 
while, to increase the complication, the hand is botl 
toucher of the limb on which it rests, and receive: 
an impression of touch from it ; and the same is thi 
case with the limb, which at one and the same tim< 
receives an impression from the hand, and convey 
to the mind a report respecting the size, substance 
and the like, of the member touching. Now, as durinj 
sleep, the patient is unconscious that both limbs an 
his own identical property, his mind is apt to be mucl 
disturbed by the complication of sensations arisinj 
from two parts of his person being at once acted upon 

* The poem of "Albania" is, in its original folio edition, so extremel 
scarce, that I have only seen a copy belonging to the amiable and ir, j 
genious Dr. Beatiie, besides the one which I myself possess, printed i 
the earlier part of last century. It was reprinted by my late friend Di 
Leyden, in a small volume, entitled "Scottish Descriptive Poems. 
" Albania" contains the above, and many other poetical passages of to 
highest merit. 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 49 

and from their reciprocal action and false impres- 
sions are thus received, which, accurately inquired 
mto, would afford a clew to many puzzling pheno- 
, mena in the theory of dreams. This peculiarity of 
: the organ of touch, as also that it is confined to no 
.particular organ, but is diffused over the whole per- 
,son ol the man, is noticed by Lucretius :— 

IUt si forte manu, quam vis jam corporis, ipse 
-1 ute libi partem ferias, eeque experiare. 
n^w? w able ^ 1Stance of sllch an illllsion was told 
me by a late nobleman. He had fallen asleep, with 
.some uneasy feelings arising from indigestion. They 
Ew^a thdr USUal C0Urse of ^sionary terrors, 
ion ?£?t> ^i Were gummed «P in the apprehen- 
toon, that the phantom of a dead man held the sleeper 
[Ja ■J mst ' ^ en deavoured to drag him out of 
pea- tie awaked in horror, and still felt the cold 
pjad grasp of a corpse's hand on his right wrist. It 
ps as a minute before he discovered that his own left 

E -a W f ,i n a state of num bness, and with it he had 
iccidentally encircled his right arm. 

The taste and the smell," like the touch, convey 
nore direct intelligence than the eye and the ear, 
: md are less likely than those senses to aid in mis- 
leading the imagination. We have seen the palate, 
p the case of the porridge-fed lunatic, enter its 
j'rotest against the acquiescence of eyes, ears, and 
ouch. m the gay visions which gilded the patient's 
,onnnement. The palate, however, is subject to 
^position as well as the other senses. The best 
PM most acute bon vivant loses his power of dis- 
immnatmg between different kinds of wine, if he is 
revented from assisting his palate by the aid of his 
yes,— that is, if the glasses of each are administered 
ldiscnminately while he is blindfolded. Nay, we 
re authorized to believe, that individuals have died 

consequence of having supposed themselves to 
ave taken poison, when, in reality, the draught 
E 



Q0 LETTERS ON 

thev had swallowed as such, was of an innoxious or 
restorative quality. The delusions of the stomach can 
seldom bear upon our present subject, and are not 
otherwise connected with supernatural appearances, 
than as a good dinner and its accompaniments are 
essential in fitting out a daring Tarn O'Shanter, who 
is fittest to encounter them, when the poet s observa- 
tion is not unlikely to apply— 

"Inspiring bauld John Barleycorn, 
What dangers thou canst make us scorn . 
Wi' tippenny we fear nae evil, 
Wi' usquebae we '11 face the Devil, 
The swats sae ream'd in Tammie's noddle, 
Fair play, he caredna deils a bodle I" 

Neither has the sense of smell, in its ordinary 
state, much connexion with our present subject, 
Mr. Aubrey tells us, indeed, of an apparition, which j 
disappeared with a curious perfume as well as a 
most melodious twang ; and popular belief ascribes 
to the presence of infernal spirits, a strong relish 
of the sulphureous element of which they are in- 
habitants. Such accompaniments, therefore, are 
usually united with other materials for imposture.! 
If, as a general opinion assures us, which is not 
positively discountenanced by Dr. Hibbert, by the 
inhalation of certain gases or poisonous herbs, 
necromancers can dispose a person to believe he 
sees phantoms, it is likely that the nostrils are 
made to inhale such suffumigation, as well as the. 

mouth.* , . ■.: . .,<■ 

I have now arrived, by a devious path, at tne 

conclusion of this letter, the object of which is to 

* Most ancient authors, who pretend to treat of the; ^"" ^j 
rural magic, give receipts for calling up phantoms. 1 he hghtm? [lamps 
fed by peculiar kinds of medicated oil, and the use of suffumigaaoij 
Of strong and deleterious herbs, are the means recommended. From 
?hese authorities, perhaps, a professor of legerdemain assured Dr. 
Alderson of Hull that he could compose a preparation of antimony. 
wlphu?,ind other drugs, which, when burnt in a confined no^waj 
have the effect of causing the patient to suppose he saw phantoms. 
See Hibbert on Apparitions p. 120. 



DEM0N0L0GY AND WITCHCRAFT. 51 

show from what attributes of our nature, whether 
mental or corporeal, arises that predisposition to 
believe in supernatural occurrences. It is, I think 
conclusive, that mankind, from a very early period' 
have their minds prepared for such events by the 
consciousness of the existence of a spiritual world 
interring m the general proposition the undeniable 
trutn, that each man, from the monarch to the 
beggar, who has once acted his part on the stage 
continues to exist, and may again, even in a dis- 
lmbodied state, if such is the pleasure of Heaven, 
tor aiight that we know to the contrary, be per- 
mitted or ordained to mingle amon? those who 
vet remain in the body. The abstract possibility 
3f apparitions must be admitted by every one who 
relieves in a Deity and his superintending omni- 
potence. _ But imagination is apt to intrude its 
;xp anations and inferences founded on inadequate 
mdence. Sometimes our violent and inordinate 
)assions, originating in sorrow for our friends 
emorse for our crimes, our eagerness of patriot- 
em, or our deep sense of devotion— these or other 
lolent excitements of a moral character, in the 
lsions of night, or the rapt ecstasy of the day 
persuade us that we witness, with our eyes and ears' 
n actual instance of that supernatural communica- 
lon, the possibility of which cannot be denied. At 
ther times, the corporeal organs impose upon the 
lind, while the eye and the ear, diseased, deranged 
r misled, convey false impressions to the patient, 
ery often both the mental delusion and the physical 
eception exist at the same time, and men's belief 
i 1 ? hen 1 0mena presented to them, however errone- 
usly, by the senses, is the firmer and more readily 
ranted, that the physical impression corresponded 
ith the mental excitement. 

So many causes acting thus upon each other in 
nous degrees, or sometimes separately, it must 
ippen early m the infancy of every society, that 



52 LETTERS ON 

there should occur many apparently well-authen- 
ticated instances of supernatural intercourse, satis- 
factory enough to authenticate peculiar examples 
of the general proposition which is impressed upon 
us by belief of the immortality of the soul. These 
examples of undeniable apparitions (for they are 
apprehended to be incontrovertible), fall like the 
seed of the husbandman, into fertile and prepared 
soil, and are usually followed by a plentiful crop of 
superstitious figments, which derive their sources 
fiom circumstances and enactments in sacred and 
profane history, hastily adopted, and prevented from 
their genuine reading. This shall be the subject of 
my next letter. 



LETTER II. 

Consequences of the Fall on the communication between Men and the , 
Spiritual World— Effects of the Flood— Wizards of Pharaoh-Texti 
in Exodus against Witches— The word Witch is by some said to mean: 1 
merely Poisoner — Or if in the Holy Text it also means a Divineress, she' 
must,"at any rate, have been a Character very different to be identifier! 
with it — The original, C.hasaph, said 10 mean a Person who dealt in 
Poisons, often a traffic of those who dealt with familiar Spirits — But 
different from the European Wilch of the Middle Ages — Thus aj 
Witch is not accessary to the Temptation of Job— The Wilch of the^ 
Hebrews probably did not rank higher than a Divining Woman — Yet' 
it was a Crime deserving the Doom of Death, since it inferred the, 
disowning of Jehovah's Supremacy — Other Texts of Scripture, in like 
manner, refer to something corresponding more with a Fortune-teller 
or Divining Woman, than what is now called a Witch — Example of I 
the Witch of Endor — Account of her Meeting with Saul — Supposedi] 
by some a mere Impostor — By others, a Sorceress powerful enough to I 
raise the Spirit of the Prophet by her own Art — Difficulties attending': 
both Positions — A middle course adopted, supposing that, as in the' 
case of Balak, the Almighty had, by exertion of his Will, substituted I 
Samuel, or a good spiiit in his character, for the deception which the 
Witch intended to produce — Resumption of the Argument, showing' 
that the Witch of Endor signified something very different from the ) 
modern ideas of Witchcraft — The Witches mentioned in the New 
Testament are not less different from modern ideas, than those of the 
Books of Moses, nor do they appear to have possessed the Power; 
ascribed to Magicians — Articles of Faith which we may gather from 



DEMONOL0GY and witchcraft. 53 

fv r the U IlZh!l 9 r n oim - That lh ™ n^ght be certain Powers permitted 
Dytlie Almighty to inferior, and even evil Spirits, is possible ■ and in 

M ,T e ' ' ! e G °^ s " f the Hea,hens ""«"< ^ accosted Demons^ 
wSh™ h T enUy ' %" d ,n a general Sense, they were but Logs of Wood 
without Sense or Power of any Kind, and their Worship founded on 
Imposture-Opimon that the Oracles were silenced at the Nativity 
adopted by Milton-Cases of Demoniacs-The incarnate Possessions 
probably ceased at the same Time as the Intervention of M raciest 
Opinion of the Catholics-Result that Witchcraft as thf WordTa 
GoZTnin lh ; Mi < ld ^ges, neither occurs under the Mosa en? 
Chri tin.K .nn H '°^ rt n r °f e in the ^ 10iai,t Perin(1 - "'hen the 
ta Pi' ; J d ,,' l,e p° ds ° f the M*«»»'"«nedan or Heathen Na- 
tions as 1 lends, and their Priests as Conjurers or Wizard*— rn«lanre 

edl n Th e eG"d a - T'M ^ """"I ^ N ° rt " ern Ell ^'S uncoil 
Als7 t , vi Me /!£° a,ld 4 Peru explained on the same System- 
Also the Powahs of North America-Opinion of Mather— Gibb a 
supposed Warlock, persecuted by the other Dissenters-Conclusion. 

What degree of communication might have existed 
:tween the human race and the inhabitants of the 
her world, had our first parents kept the commands 
the Creator, can only be a subject of unavailing 
eculation. We do not, perhaps, presume too much 
ben we suppose, with Milton, that one necessary 
nsequence of eating the " fruit of that forbidden 
te, was removing to a wider distance from celestial 
sences the beings, who, although originally but a 
tie lower than the angels, had, by their own crime, 
-teited the gift of immortality, and degraded them- 
Ives into an inferior rank in creation. 
Some communication between the spiritual world, 
the union of those termed in Scripture " Sons of 
id," and the daughters of Adam, still continued 
er the fall, though their inter-all lance was not 
proved of by the Ruler of mankind. We are 
'en to understand, darkly indeed, but with as much 
Dainty as we can be entitled to require, that the 
xture between the two species of created beings 
s sinful on the part of both, and displeasing to the 
nighty. It is probable, also, that the extreme 
igevityof the antediluvian mortals prevented their 
ling sufficiently that they had brought themselves 
ler the banner of Azrael, the angel of death, and 
noved to too great a distance the period between 

p, o 



54 LETTERS OX 

their crime and its punishment. The date of the 
avenrino- Flood gave birth to a race, whose lite was 
Gradually shortened, and who, being admitted to 
slighter 'and rarer intimacy with beings who pos- 
sessed a higher rank in creation, assumed, as of 
course, a lower position in the scale. Accordingly, 
after this period," we hear no more of those unnatural 
alliances which preceded the flood, and are given to 
understand that manKind, dispersing into differenl 
parts of the world, separated from each other, anc 
be-°-an. in various places, and under separate auspices 
to pursue the work of replenishing the world, wind 
had been imposed upon them as an end of their crea- 
tion. In the mean time, while the Deity was pleasec, 
to continue his manifestations to those who wen 
defined to be the fathers of his elect people, we an 
made to understand that wicked men, it may be bj 
the assistance of fallen angels, were enabled to asser 
rank with, and attempt to match, the prophets of th 
God of Israel. The matter must remain uncertair 
whether it was bv sore en- or legerdemain that th 
wizards of Pharaoh, King: of Egypt, contended wit. 
Moses, in the face of the prince and people, change 
their rods into serpents, and imitated several of th 
plagues denounced against the devoted kingdom 
Those powers of the Magi, however, whether obtain! 
bvsupernaturJcommunications,or arising from know 
led^-e of legerdemain audits kindred accomplishments 
were openly exhibited; and who can doubt that, thong 
we may be left in some darkness both respecting th 
extent "of their skill and the source from which I 
was drawn, we are told all which it can be importan 
for us to know ? We arrive here at the period whe 
th* 4.1mio-hty chose to take upon himself directly t 
lerislate"for his chosen people, without havin 
obtained any accurate knowledge, whether the enm 
of witchcraft, or the intercourse between the spirit* 
world and unbodied beings, for evil purposes, eitH 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 55 

existed after the flood, or was visited with any open 
jmarks of Divine displeasure. 

1 .; But in the Law of Moses, dictated by the Divinity 
: himself, was announced a text, which, as interpreted 
(literally, having been inserted into the criminal code 
; of all Christian nations, has occasioned much cruelty 
:and bloodshed, either from its tenor being misunder- 
I stood, or that, being exclusively calculated for the 
Israelites, it made part of the judicial Mosaic dispen- 
sation, and was abrogated, like the greater part of 
ithat law, by the more benign and clement dispensa- 
tion of the Gospel. 

I The text alluded to is that verse of the twenty 
second chapter of Exodus, bearing, " men shall not 
suffer a witch to live." Many learned men have 
4ffirmed, that in this remarkable passage the Hebrew 
vord chasaph means nothing more than poisoner, 
jilthough, like the word veneficus, by which it is ren- 
dered in the Latin version of the Septuagint, other 
jj ; earned men contend, that it hath the meaning of a 
witch also, and may be understood as denoting a 
person who pretended to hurt his or her neighbours 
h life, limb, or goods, either by noxious potions, by 
marms, or similar mystical means. In this particular 
r he witches of Scripture had probably some resem- 
blance to those of ancient Europe, who, although 
i heir skill and power might be safely despised, as 
ong as they confined themselves to their charms and 
-pells, were very apt to eke out their capacity of 
nisctief by the use of actual poison, so that the 
■pithet of sorceress and poisoner were almost syno- 
nymous. This is known to have been the case in 
■nany of those darker iniquities, which bear as theii 
■haracteristic something connected with hidden ana 
Prohibited arts. Such was the statement in the 
indictment of those concerned in the famous murder 
if Sir Thomas Overbury, when the arts of Forman 
nd other sorcerers having been found insufficient to 
ouch the victim's life, practice by poison was at 



56 LETTERS ON 

length successfully resorted to ; and numerous simi- 
lar instances might be quoted. But supposing that 
the Hebrew witch proceeded only by charms, invo- 
cations, or such means as might be innoxious, save 
for the assistance of demons or familiars, the con-' 
nexion between the conjurer and the demon must 
have been of a very different character, under the 
law of Moses, from that which was conceived, in 
latter days, to constitute witchcraft. There was no 
contract of subjection to a diabolic power, no infernal 
stamp or sign of such a fatal league, no revellings of 
Satan and his hags, and no infliction of disease or 
misfortune upon good men. At least there is not a 
word in Scripture authorizing us to believe that 
such a system existed. On the contrary, we are 
told (how far literally, how far metaphorically, it iS 
not for us to determine), that, when the Enemy of 
mankind desired to probe the virtue of Job to the 
bottom, he applied for permission to the Supreme 
Governor of the world, who granted him liberty to 
try his faithful servant with a storm of disasters, for 
the more brilliant exhibition of the faith which he 1 
reposed in his Maker. In all this, had the scene 
occurred after the manner of the like events in latter 
days, witchcraft, sorceries, and charms would have 
been introduced, and the Devil, instead of his own 
pennitted agency, would have employed his servant 
the witch, as the necessary instrument of the Man 
of Uz's afflictions. In like manner, Satan desired' 
to have Peter, that he might sift him like wheat. 
But neither is there here the agency of any sorcerer 
or witch. Luke xxii. 31. 

Supposing the powers of the witch to be limited, 
in the time of Moses, to inquiries at some pretended 
deity or real evil spirit concerning future events, in 
Avhat respect, may it be said, did such a crime 
deserve the severe punishment of death ] To an- 
swer this question, we must reflect, that the object 
of the Mosaic dispensation being to preserve the 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 57 

knowledge of the true Deity within the breasts of 
a selected and separated people, the God of Jacob 
:iecessanly showed himself a jealous God to all who 
straying from the path of direct worship of Jehovah 
lad recourse to other deities, whether idols or evil 
spirits, the gods of the neighbouring heathen. The 
ivverving from their allegiance to the true Divinity 
o the extent of praying to senseless stocks and 
tones, which could return them no answer, was, by 
he Jewish law, an act of rebellion to their own Lord 
rod, and as such most fit to be punished capitally. 

husthe prophets of Baal were deservedly put to 
eath, not on account of any success which they mio-ht 
btain by their intercessions and invocations (which 
tough enhanced with all their vehemence, to the 
xtent of cutting and wounding themselves, proved 
) utterly unavailing, as to incur the ridicule of the 
rophet), but because they were guilty of apostacy 
■om the real Deity, while they worshipped, and en- 
niraged others to worship, the false divinity Baal 
he Hebrew witch, therefore, or she who commu- 
cated, or attempted to communicate, with an evil 
urit, was justly punished with death, though her 
•mmumcation with the spiritual world might either 
)t exist at all, or be of a nature much less intimate 
an has been ascribed to the witches of later days • 
»r does the existence of this law, against the 
itches of the Old Testament, sanction, in any re- 
ect, the severity of similar enactments subsequent 

the Christian revelation, against a different class of 
rsons, accused of a very different species of crime. 
In another passage, the practices of those persons 
-med witches in the Holy Scriptures, are again 
uded to ; and again it is made manifest that the 
rcery or witchcraft of the Old Testament resolves 
elf into a trafficking with idols, and asking counsel 
false deities ; in other words, into idolatry, which, 
(.withstanding repeated prohibitions, examples, and 
dgraents, was still the prevailing crime of the 



58 LETTERS ON 

Israelites. The passage alluded to is in Deuteronorf 
xviii. 10, 11.—" There shall not. be found among yo 
any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pa 
through the fire, or that useth divination, or an o 
server of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, on 
charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, ori 
wizard, or a necromancer." Similar denimciatioi 
occur in the nineteenth and twentieth chapters i 
Leviticus. In like manner, i'c is- a charge again 
Manasses, 2 Chronicles xxxviii., that he caused i 
children to pass through the fire, observed times, usi 
enchantments and witchcraft, and dealt with famili* 
spirits and with wizards. These passages seem 
concur with the former in classing witchcraft amoil 
other desertions of the prophets of the Deity, 
order to obtain responses by the superstitious pra 1 
tices of the pagan nations around them. To unde' 
stand the texts otherwise, seems to confound tl 
modern system of witchcraft, with all its unnatur 
and improbable outrages on common sense, with 1 
crime of the person who, in classical days, consulW 
the oracle of Apollo ;— a capital offence in a Je> 
but surely a venial sin in an ignorant and delude 
pagan." >' 

To illustrate the nature of the Hebrew witch an 
her prohibited criminal traffic, those who ha; 
written on this subject have naturally dwelt upc< 
the interview between Saul and the Witch of Endc? 
the only detailed and particular account of such 
transaction which is to be found in the Bible ;4 
fact, by-the-way, which proves that the crime jj 
witchcraft (capitally punished as it was when dis& ; 
vered), was not frequent among the chosen peopl' 
who enjoyed such peculiar manifestations of the A 
mighty's presence. The Scriptures seem only r 
have conveyed to us the general fact (being what 
chiefly edifying) of the interview between the Wit( 
and the King of Israel. They inform us, that Sau 
disheartened and discouraged by the general defe< 



DEMOXOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 59 

on of his subjects, and the consciousness of his own 
nvorthy and ungrateful disobedience, despairing of 
itaining an answer from the offended Deity, who 
id previously communicated with him through his 
ophets, at length resolved, in his desperation, to 

I to a divining woman, by which course he involved 
taself in the crime of the person whom he thus 
|nsulted, against whom the law denounced death, 
ja sentence which had been often executed by Saul 
mself on similar offenders. Scripture proceeds 
give us the general information, that the king di- 
eted the witch to call up the spirit of Samuel, and 
at the female exclaimed, that gods had arisen out 

J the earth — That Saul, more particularly requiring 
description of the apparition (whom, consequently, 
did not himself see), she described it as the figure 
an old man with a mantle. In this figure °the 
ig acknowledges the resemblance of Samuel, and, 
iking on his face, hears from the apparition, speak- 
y in the character of the prophet, the melancholy 
sdiction of his own defeat and death. 
In this description, though all is told which is ne- 
ssary to convey to us an awful moral lesson, yet 
3 are left ignorant of the minutiae attending the 
parition, which perhaps we ought to aceept°as a 
re sign, that there was no utility in our being made 
quamted with them. It is impossible, for instance, 
know with certainty whether Saul was present 
len the woman used her conjuration, or whether 
himself personally ever saw the appearance 
lich the Pythoness described to him. It is left 

II more doubtful whether any thing supernatural 
is actually evoked, or whether the Pythoness and 
r assistant meant to practise a mere deception, 
ring their chance to prophesy the defeat and death 
the broken-spirited king, as an event which the 
cumstances in which he was placed rendered 
rhly probable, since he was surrounded by a su- 
nor army of Philistines, and his character as a 



60 LETTERS ON 

soldier rendered it likely that he would not surviv 
a defeat, which must involve the loss of his kino 
dom. On the other hand, admitting that the appa 
rition had really a supernatural character, it remain 
equally uncertain what was its nature, or by wha 
power it was compelled to an appearance, unpleasinj 
as it intimated, since the supposed spirit of Samuf 
asks wherefore he was disquieted in the grave 
Was the power of the witch over the invisible worl 
so great, that, like the Erictho of the heathen poe 
she could disturb the sleep of the just, and especiall 
that of a prophet so important as Samuel; and ai 
we to suppose that he, upon whom the Spirit of th 
Lord was wont to descend, even while he wj 
clothed with frail mortality, should be subject to | 
disquieted in his grave, at the voice of a vile witc. 
and the command of an apostate prince 1 Did tl 
true Deity refuse Saul the response of his prophet 
and could a witch compel the actual spirit of Saraffl 
to make answer notwithstanding 1 

Embarrassed by such difficulties, another cours 
of explanation has been resorted to, which, fret 
from some of the objections which attend the t£ 
extreme suppositions, is yet liable to others. It h; 
been supposed that something took place upon th 
remarkable occasion, similar to that which disturbc 
the preconcerted purpose of the prophet Balaam, ar 
compelled him to exchange his premeditated curs; 
for blessings. According to this hypothesis, the c 
vining woman of Endor was preparing to practi: 
upon Saul those tricks of legerdemain or jugglery 1 
which she imposed upon meaner clients who resortf 
to her oracle. Or we may conceive that, in tho: 
days, when the laws of nature were frequently su 
pended by manifestations of the Divine Power, son 
degree of juggling might be permitted between mo 
tail and the "spirits of lesser note ; in which case, v 
must suppose that the woman really expected 
hoped to call up some supernatural appearance. B 



DEM0N0L0GY AND WITCHCRAFT. 61 

in either case, this second solution of the story sun- 
poses that the will of the Almighty substituted, on 
that memorable occasion, for the phantasmagoria in" 
.ended by tne h> ^ * go g am 

arthly resemblance-or, if the reader may think 
his more likely, some good being, the messenger of 
he divine pleasure, in the likeness of the departed 
a-ophet-and, to the surprise of the PythonesHer- 
elf exchanged the juggling farce of sheer deceit or 
etty sorcery which she had intended to produce, for 

deep tragedy, capable of appalling the heart of the 
met^Is mt ' &nd fUrUishmg an aw ^ ksson to 

This exposition has the advantage of explaining 

e surprise expressed by the witch at the u?exS 
i consequences of her own invocation, while it re- 

ibWt to H JeCtl fl ° n ° f su PPosingthe spirit of Samuel 
•bject to her influence. It does not apply so well 
' the complaint of Samuel, that he was disavieted 
ace neither the prophet, nor any gooTanJel wear-' 
g Ins likeness, could be supposed to complain of an 
>parition which took place in obedience to the d" 
ct comrnana of the Deity. If, however, the phrase 
understood not as a murmuring against the plea- 
re oi Providence, but as a reproach to the prophet's 

TuJ ne ^ Sa ? ' that his sins and disLments 
iich .were the ultimate cause of Samuel's appear- 
ce, had withdrawn the prophet, for a space, from 
enjoyment and repose of heaven, to review tins 
serable spot of mortality, guilt, grief, and misfor! 
ie, the words may, according to that interpreta- 

SmP Si 10 r .° n f ^ Sense 0f com V^ than might 
.ome the spirit of a just man made perfect, or any 
levolent angel by whom he might be represerteT 
may be observed, that, in Ecclesiasticus xlvi. 19, 
the opmion of Samuel's actual appearance is 
pted, since it is said of this man of God, that aftlr 

JvZtlT^i m i Sk0Wed the Un S his latter {nd. 
,ea^ ing the farther discussion of this dark and dif 

T7< 



62 LETTERS ON 

ficult question to those whose studies have qualified 
them to rive judgment on so obscure a subject, it so 
far appears clear, that the Witch of Endor was not a 
beinssucn as those believed in by our ancestors, who 
could transform themselves and others into the ap- 
pearance of the lower animals; raise and alia} ..em- 
pests, frequent the company and join the revels of 
evil spirits, and. bv their counsel and assistance, de- 
stroy human lives : and waste the fruits ol the earth, 
or perform feats of such magnitude as to alter the 
face of nature. The Witeh of Endor was a mere lor- 
tune-teller, to whom, in despair ot all aid or answj 
from the Umightv, the unfortunate King ol Israel tag 
recourse in his despair, and by whom, in some waj 
or other, he obtained the awful certainty ol his owr 
defeat and death. She was liable, indeed, deserveoiv 
to the punishment of death, for intruding herself 
upon the task of the real prophets, by whom til 
y, ill of God was, in that time, regularly made known 
But her existence and her crimes can go no lengti 
to prcv-e the possibility that another class of mtetoj 
no otherwise resembling her than as calleu by tbt 
,ame name, either existed at a more recent period 
or were liable to the same capital punishment, for < 
very different and much more doubtful class of of 
fences: which, however odious, are nevertheless to tM 
proved possible before they can be received as a en 
mmal charge. , . . ■ 

Whatever may be thought ol other occasiona 
expressions in the Old Testament, it cannot M 
said, that in anv part of that sacred volume, a tex 
occurs, indicating the existence 01 a system o* 
witchcraft, under" the Jewish dispensation, m an } 
respect similar to that against which the law 
books of so many European nations have, fflii 
lately, denounced punishment; far less under ■ 
Christian dispensation— a system under which ■ 
emancipation of the human race Irom the Levi 
tical law was happily and miraculously perfected 



DEMOKOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 63 

This latter crime is supposed to infer a compact 
implying reverence and adoration on the part of 'the 
j witch who comes under the fatal bond, and patron- 
age, support, and assistance on the part of the dia- 
bolical patron. Indeed, in the four Gospels, the word, 
. under any sense, does not occur ; although, had the 
possibility of so enormous a sin been admitted, it was 
not likely to escape the warning- censure of the Di- 
vine Person who came to take away the sins of the 
world. Saint Paul, indeed, mentions the sin of witeh- 
! craft in a cursory manner, as superio- in guilt to that 
ktf ingratitude ; and in the offences of the flesh, it is 
[ranked immediately after idolatry; which juxtaposi- 
tion inclines us to believe that the witchcraft men- 
tioned^ by the Apostle must have been analogous to 
that of the Old Testament, and equivalent to resort- 
ing to the assistance of soothsayers, or similar for- 
bidden arts, to acquire knowledge of futurity. Sor- 
cerers are also joined with other criminals, in the 
'Book of Revelations, as excluded from the city of 
God. And with these occasional notices, which in- 
dicate that there was a transgression so called, but 
Heave us ignorant of its exact nature, the writers upon 
witchcraft attempt to wring out of the New Testa- 
ment proofs of a crime in itself so disgustingly im- 
probable. Neither do the exploits of Elvma.s," called 
the Sorcerer, or Simon, called Magus, or the Magi- 
cian, entitle them to rank above the class of impos- 
tors, who assumed a character to which they had no 
jreal title, and put their own mystical and ridiculous 
pretensions to supernatural power in competition 
Rrith those who had been conferred on purpose to 
diffuse the Gospel, and facilitate its reception by the 
Exhibition of genuine miracles. It is clear that. "from 
Ms presumptuous and profane proposal to acquire, 
py purchase, a portion of those powers which were 
lirectly derived from inspiration. Simon Magus dis- 
played a degree of profane and brutal ignorance, in- 
consistent with Ids possessing even the" intelligence 



64 LETTERS ON 

of a skilful impostor; and it is plain that a leagued 
vassal of hell, should we pronounce him such, would 
have better known his own rank and condition, com- 
pared to that of the Apostle, than to have made such 
a fruitless and unavailing proposal, by which he 
could only expose his own impudence and ignorance. 
With this observation we may conclude our brief 
remarks upon witchcraft, as the word occurs in the 
Scripture ; and it now only remains to mention the 
nature of the demonology, which, as gathered from 
the sacred volumes, every Christian believer is 
bound to receive as a thing declared and proved to 

And in the first place, no man can read the Bible, 
or call himself a Christian, without believing that, 
during the course of time comprehended by the 
divine writers, the Deity, to confirm the faith of the 
Jews, and to overcome and confound the pride of 
the heathens, wrought in the land many great mira- 
cles using eithei good spirits, the instruments ol his 
pleasure, or fallen angels, the permitted agents of 
such evil as it was his will should be inflicted upon, 
or suffered by, the children of men. This proposi- 
tion comprehends, of course, the acknowledgment 
of the truth of miracles during this early period, by 
which the ordinary laws of nature were occasionally 
suspended, and recognises the existence in the spi- 
ritual world of the two grand divisions of angels and. 
devils, severally exercising their powers according, 
to the commission or permission of the Ruler of the 

universe. , , ± , , ,, . 

Secondly, wise men have thought and argued, that 
the idols of the heathen were actually fiends, or 
rather, that these enemies of mankind had power to, 
assume the shape and appearance of those feeble, 
deities, and to ffive a certain degree of countenance 
to the faith of the worshippers, by working seeming 
miracles, and returning, by their priests or their ora- 
cles, responses which " palter 1 d m a double sense 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 65 

2?* ^% d f ll l ded P , ersons who consulted them. 
Most of the fathers of the Christian church have inti- 
mated such an opinion. This doctrine has the ad- 
vantage of affording to a certain extent, a confirma- 
tion of many miracles related in pagan or classical 
history, which are thus ascribed to the agency of 
evil spirits. It corresponds also with the texts of 

?r P ri a P llT' '? ICh , deCl f re lhat the ^ ods of the he athen 
ire all devils and evil spirits ; and the idols of Effypt 
ire classed as in Isaiah, chap. xix. ver. 2, with 

&f ' S S lh h t° hav ? familiar s P ints ' and with 
vizaids. But whatever license it may be supposed 

SJST**? 'I t] !f, 6Vil s P ints of that periodHnd 
dthough, undoubtedly, men owned the sway of dei- 

ies who were, in fact, but personifications of certain 
vil passions of humanity, as, for example, in their 
acnfices to Venus, to Bacchus, to Mars", &C, and 
vf, r !? re t' migU be Said ' in one se » s e- to worship 
ni Tlhll^ Can ^ f ' in reason ' su PPose that every 
ne or the thousandth part of the innumerable idols 
orshipped among the heathen, was endowed with 
upernatural power ; it is clear that the greater num- 
er fell under the description applied to them in 
no her passage of Scripture, in which the part of 
ie tree burned in the fire for domestic purposes 1 
.eated asof the same power and estimationfas tha? 

El 1 nt ° M /T ge ' and P referred for Gentile 
n^5 i J S stn } m S passage, in which the impo- 
se of the senseless block, and the brutish igno- 

T P wni e Tv hipper '^ h T ob J ect of ^oration 
.art J a 1S u° Wn hands ' occurs [n the 44th 
'apter of the prophecies of Isaiah, verse 10, et sen 

t^S&TZtVr the t^' aS wel1 as c « 
nse iorbid us to believe that the images so con- 

' resUn^nWnr/ 1 ' 11 ' 8 " 18 ' beCame the habitat ^ 
resting-place ol demons, or possessed any mani- 

E£?l ° f fl Stren?th ° r P° wer ' wheih ™ through de- 
omacal influence or otherwise. The whole system 
doubt, delusion, and trick exhibited bytoeoSS, 



66 LETTERS ON 

savours of the mean juggling of impostors, rather 
than the audacious intervention of demons. \i hat- 
ever decree of power the false gods of heathendom, 
or devils in their name, might be permitted occasion- 
ally to exert, was, unquestionably, under the generax 
restraint and limitation of Providence ; and though, 
on the one hand, we cannot deny the possibility of 
such pel-mission being granted, in cases unknown to 
us it is certain, on "the other, that the Scriptures 
mention no one specific instance of such influence, 
expressly recommended to our belief. 

Thirdly, as the backsliders among the Jews repeat- 
edly feH off to the worship of the idols of the neigh- 
bouring heathens, so they also resorted to the use of 
charms and enchantments, founded on a superstitious 
perversion of their own Levitical ritual, m which 
thev endeavoured by sortilege, by Teraphim, by oM 
serration of augury, or the flight of birds, which tney 
called jXahas, bv the means of L rim and Thummmv: 
to find, as it were, a by-road to the secrets of futurity ■ 
But for the same reason that withholds us from de-t 
livering any opinion upon the degree to which the- 
Devil and his angels might be allowed to countenance I 
the impositions'of the heathen priesthood, it is 1m- 
possible for us conclusively to pronounce what effect 
might be permitted by supreme Providence, to the : 
ministry of such evil spirits as presided over and, sou 
far as they had liberty, directed these sinful inquM 
rie« among the Jews themselves. We are indeed r 
assured from the sacred writings, that the promise I 
of the Deity to his chosen people, if they conducted,! 
themselves" agreeably to the law which he had given, I 
was that the communication with the invisible; 
world would be enlarged, so that in the fulness of 
his time, he would pour out his spirit upon all flesh, t 
when their sons and daughters should prophesy, their t 
old men see visions, and their young men dream'! 
dreams. Such were the promises delivered to the:! 
Israelites by Joel, Ezekiel, and other holy seers, of\i 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 6? 

which St. Peter, in the second chapter of the Acta 
of the Apostles, hails the fulfilment in the mission 
of our Saviour. And on the other hand, it is no less 
vident that the Almighty, to punish the disobe*ence 
g the Jews, abandoned them to their own fallacious 
desires, and suffered them to be deceived by fteS 
>racles, to which, in flagrant violation of his com- 
nands, they had recourse. Of this, the pun ishmen 
frismg from the Deity abandoning Ahab to his owm 
levices, and suffering him to be deceived by S 
pint, forms a striking instance. ° 

■ fourthly, and on the other hand, abstaining with 
■eyerence from accounting ourselves judges of the 
ct ions of Omnipotence, we may safely Conclude 
hat it was not his pleasure to employ in the execu- 
on of his judgments, the consequences of any such 
oecies of league or compact between devils and de- 
eded mortals, as that denounced in the laws of our 
wn ancestors under the name of witchcraft What 

btS SfS" b -V hat ™ d > -en^tle more 
an the ait of a medicator of poisons, combined 
ith that of a Pythoness or false prophetess • a crime 

nie ev hi r 'th° firS apital r ure ' b > the l -^™; 

ankHd \J l PaClty ' ' V mplied ^ eat eiim "y to 
ankmd, and in the second, direct treason to the 
vme Legislator. The book of Tobit contains, in! 

•abhnSTr r r e T blmg m ° re an incident S an 
abian tale, or Gothic romance, than a part of in 

ES 1 ^ In thiS ' the fumes Producld by broS: 
wertn T" & C6rtam fish are d9scribed *» Wff 

■pt fai JZLVlf an T' il genms wh0 ^ ards ^ 

irtraSS 1 \n Assynan princess, and who 
t &HL f 6 £ bnd ^ rooms ™ succession, as 
} approached the nuptial couch. But the ro 

ce amonVL P™testant churches to deny it a 
*e among the writings sanctioned by divine origin 
iwe may, therefore, be excused from en 2 
o discussion on such imperfect evidence. ° 



68 LETTERS ON 

Lastly, in considering the incalculable change 
which took place upon the advent of our Saviour and 
the announcement of his law, we may observe, 
that according to many wise and learned men, his 
mere appearance upon earth, without awaiting the 
fulfilment of his mission, operated as an act of banish- 
ment of such heathen deities as had hitherto been 
suffered to deliver oracles, and ape in some degree 
the attributes of the Deity. Milton has, in the Para- 
dise Lost, it may be upon conviction of its truth, 
embraced the theory which identifies the followers 1 
of Satan with the gods of the heathen ; and, in a 
tone of poetry almost unequalled, even in his own 
splendid writings, he thus describes, in one of his 
earlier pieces, the departure of these pretended dei- 
ies on the eve of the blessed Nativity. 

" The oracles are dumb, 

No voice or hideous hum 
Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving; 

Apollo from his shrine 

Can no more divine, 
Willi hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving; 
No nightly trance or breathed spell 
Inspires the pale-eyed priest from the prophetic cell 

" The lonely mountains o'er, 

And the resounding shore, 
A voice of weeping heard and loud lament ; 

From haunted spring and dale, 

Edged with poplar pale, 
The parting Genius is with sighing sent; 
With flower-inwoven tresses torn, 
The Nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn 

"In consecrated earth, 

And on the holy hearth, 
The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight plaint; 

In urns and altars round, 

A drear and dying sound 
Affrights the F'.amens at their service quaint ; 
And the chill marble seems to sweat, 
While each peculiar Power foregoes his wonted seat. 

"Peor and Baalim 
Forsake llieir temples dim, 

With that twice-batter'd end of Palestine ; 
And mconed Ashtaroth, 
Heaven's queen and mother both, 

Now sits not gtrt with tapers' holy shine ; 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 69 

The Lybic Hammon shrinks his horn • 
In vain the Tynan maids -beaded Thamu Z m our, 
" And sullen Mblnch fled 

h; !, • H ? th left in shadowe diead 
His burning ,doI all of darken hue 

In vain with cymbals' ring 

Tn a- ■ 7 hey ca " lhe g r 'sly kine 

Thl T 8 ' d , a " Ce about U,e Enlace blue • 
The brutish gods of Nile as fast ' 

Isis and Onu, and the Dog Anub'is, haste » 

mmmm 

tegggspg 

[moS power, SSd^ ,h"The ££, Jf 

:htly rejected iT t ""' ls n0 ' «>Wy to be 
osefby Sties o^me^weS f^*" 

K ap , pea £ ^ ' h "^ »S ferf 

k o^r P i r Sei n ' he e , Wer £££* 

-' proposition, that at the Divine adveift ,L7I 

brttwtdSt«?? rr 

SSSSssBS 



70 LETTERS ON 

impossible to doubt (notwithstanding- learned authori- 
ties to the contrary), that it was a dreadful disorder; j 
of a kind not merely natural; and may be pietty 
well assured that it was suffered to continue aftei t 
the incarnation, because the miracles effected by oui 
Saviour and his apostles, in curing those tormentec I 
in this way, afforded the most direct proofs of his 
divine mission, even out of the very mouths of those j 
ejected fiends, the most malignant enemies of apowei I 
to which they dared not refuse homage and obe- 
dience. And here is an additional proof, that witch- 
craft, in its ordinary and popular sense, was unknowr d 
at that period : although cases of possession are re- 
peatedly mentioned in the Gospels and Acts of th( j 
Apostles, yet in no one instance do the devils ejected 
mention a witch or sorcerer, or plead the command? j 
of such a person, as the cause of occupying or tor-1 
menting the victim; — whereas, in a great proportiorf 
of those melancholy cases of witchcraft withwhiclj 
the records of later times abound, the stress of the! 
evidence is rested on the declaration of the possessed I 
or the demon within him, that some old man or wo-« 
man in the neighbourhood had compelled the fiencj 
to be the instrument of evil. 

It must also be admitted, that in another mosj 
remarkable respect, the power of the Enemy of mani 
kind was rather enlarged than bridled or restrained! 
in consequence of the Saviour coming upon earth. I j 
is indisputable, that in order that Jesus might have his] 
share in every species of delusion and persecution 
which the fallen race of Adam is heir to, he personally j 
suffered the temptation in the wilderness at the hancj 
of Satan, whom, without resorting to his divine power j 
he drove, confuted, silenced, and shamed, from hisl 
presence. But it appears, that although Satan was! 
allowed upon this memorable occasion to come onl 
earth with great power, the permission was given 
expressly because his time was short. 



PEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 71 

The indulgence which was then granted to him in 
a case so unique and peculiar soon passed over, and 
jwas utterly restrained. It is evident, that after the 
[lapse of the period during which it pleased the 
lAlmighty to establish his own Church by miraculous 
(displays of power, it could not consist with his kind- 
jness and wisdom, to leave the enemy in the posses- 
sion of the privilege of deluding men by imaginary 
( miracles calculated for the perversion of that faith, 
which real miracles were no longer present to sup- 
port. There would, we presume to say, be a shocking 
inconsistency in supposing, that false and deceitful 
iprophecies and portents should be freely circulated 
by any demoniacal influence, deceiving men's bodily 
organs, abusing their minds, and perverting their faith, 
while the true religion was left by its great Author 
devoid of every supernatural sign and token, which, 
in the time of its Founder and his immediate disci- 
ples, attested and celebrated their inappreciable 
mission. Such a permission on the part of the 
Supreme Being, would be (to speak under the deepest 
reverence) an abandonment of his chosen people, 
ransomed at such a price, to the snares of an enemy, 
from whom the worst evils were to be apprehended. 
•Nor would it consist with the remarkable promise in 
Holy Writ, that" God will not suffer his people to be 
tempted above what they are able to Lear." 1 Cor. x. 13. 
The Fathers of the Faith are not strictly agreed at 
what period the miraculous power was withdrawn 
from the Church ; but few Protestants are disposed 
to bring it down beneath the accession of Constantine, 
when the Christian religion was fully established in 
supremacy. The Roman Catholics, indeed, boldly 
affirm, that the power of miraculous interference with 
the course of nature is still in being ; but the enlight- 
ened even of this faith, though they dare not deny a 
fundamental tenet of their Church, will hardly assent 
to any particular case, without nearly the same evi- 
dence which might conquer the incredulity of their 



72 LETTERS ON 

neighbours the Protestants. It is alike inconsisten. 
with the common sense of either, that fiends shoulx . 
be permitted to work marvels which are no long® 
exhibited on the part of Heaven, or in behalf "ol 
religion. 

It will be observed that we have not been anxiou; 
to decide upon the limits of probability on this ques. 
tion. It is not necessary for us to ascertain in wha 
degree the power of Satan was at liberty to displaj 
itself during the Jewish dispensation, or down tc 
what precise period in the history of the Christian 
Church cures of demoniacal possession, or similar 
displays of miraculous power, may have occurred,.] 
We have avoided controversy on that head, because] 
it comprehends questions not more doubtful thari 
unedifying. Little benefit could arise from attaining! 
the exact knowledge of the manner in which the! 
apostate Jews practised unlawful charms or auguries I 
After their conquest and dispersion, they were re-ij 
marked among the Romans for such superstition! 
practices ; and the like, for what we know, may con-o 
tinue to linger about the benighted wanderers of 
their race at the present day. But all these tilings,, 
are extraneous to our inquiry, the purpose of whichi 
was to discover whether any real evidence could be) 
derived from sacred history, to prove the early exist! 
ence of that branch of demonology which has been 
the object, in comparatively modern times, of crimi-. 
nal prosecution and capital punishment. We have, 
already alluded to this as the contract of witchcraft,,! 
in which, as the term was understood in the middle!: 
ages, the demon and the witch or wizard combined 
their various powers of dcingharm to inflict calami- 
ties upon the person and property, the fortune and I 
the fame of innocent human beings ; imposing the 
most horrible diseases, and death itself, as marks of 
their slightest ill-will ; transforming their own per- 
sons and those of others at their pleasure ; raising 
tempests to ravage the crops of their enemies, or 



DEMOXOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 73- 

carrying them home to their own garners; annihi- 
lating or transferring to their own dairies the produce 
;!)f herds; spreading pestilence among cattle, infecting 
'■ind blighting children ; and, in a word, doing more 
wil than the heart of man might be supposed capable 
5i )f conceiving, by means far beyond mere human 
';)Ower to accomplish. If it could be supposed that 
''such unnatural leagues existed, and that there were 
'Wretches wicked enough, merely for the gratification 
pi malignant spite or the enjoyment of some beastly 
'l-evelry, to become the wretched slaves of infernal 
'spirits, most just and equitable would be those laws 
•which cut them off from the midst of eveiy Christian 
Commonwealth. But it is still more just and equita- 
ble, before punishment be inflicted for any crime, to 
'jarove that there is a possibility of that crime being 
Committed. We have, therefore, advanced an impor- 
tant st^p in our inquiry, when w e have ascertained 
that the witch of the Old Testament was not capable 
mf any thing beyond the administration of baleful 
prigs, or the practising of paltry imposture, in other 
(words, that she did not hold the character ascribed 
1 to a modem sorceress. We have thus removed out 
jof the argument the startling objection, that, in deny- 
ing the existence of witchcraft, we deny the possi- 
bility of a crime which was declared capital in the 
!Mosaic law ; and are left at full liberty to adopt the 
jopinion, that the more modern system of witchcraft 
jwas a part, and by no means the least gross, of that 
[mass of errors which appeared among the members 
[of the Christian Church, when their religion, becom- 
ing gradually corrupted by the devices of men, and 
I the barbarism of those nations among whom it was 
[spread, showed a light, indeed, but one deeply tinged 
[with the remains of that very pagan ignorance which 
■ its divine Founder came to dispel. 

We will, in a future part of this inquiry, endea- 
j vour to show that many of the particular articles of 
the popular belief respecting magic and witchcraft 
G 



74 LETTERS ON 

were derived from the opinions which the ancient 
heathens entertained as part of their religion. Tol 
recommend them, however, they had principles 
lying deep in the human mind and heart of all times ; 
the tendency to belief in supernatural agencies is 
natural, and indeed seems connected with, and 
deduced from, the invaluable conviction of the cer- 
tainty of a future state. Moreover, it is very possible 
that particular stories of this class may have seemed 
undeniable in the dark ages, though our better 
instructed period can explain them in a satisfactory 
manner, by the excited temperament of spectators, 
or the influence of delusions produced by derange- 
ment of the intellect, or imperfect leports of the 
external senses. They obtained, however, universal : 
faith and credit ; and the churchmen, either from 
craft or from ignorance, favoured the progress of a| 
belief which certainly contributed, in a most power- 
ful manner, to extend their own authority over thej 
human mind. 

To pass from the pagans'of antiquity — the Mahom-i 
medans, though their profession of faith is exclu- 
sively Unitarian, were accounted worshippers of evil ' 
spirits, who were supposed to aid them in their con-;i 
tinual warfare against the Christians, or to protect 
and defend them in the Holy Land, where their abodes 
gave so much scandal and offence to the devout.;. 
Romance, and even history, combined in represent- ( 
ing all who were out of the pale of the Church as the I 
personal vassals of Satan, who played his decep-, 
tions openly among them ; and Mahound, Terma- 
gaunt, and Apollo Avere, in the opinion of the West-;: 
ern Crusaders, only so many names of the arch-! 
fiend and his principal angels. The most enormousj 
fictions, spread abroad and believed through Chris-i 
tendom, attested the fact, that there were open dis-i 
plays of supernatural aid afforded by the evil spirits; 
to the Turks and Saracens; and fictitious reports' 
were not Iress liberal in assigning to the Christians 
extraordinary means of defence through the direct 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 75 

protection of blessed saints and angels, or of holy 
men, yet in the flesh, but already anticipating the 
privileges proper to a state of beatitude and glory, 
and possessing the power to work miracles. 

To show the extreme grossness of these legends, 
we may give an example from the romance of 
Richard Coeur de Lion, premising, at the same time, 
that, like other romances, it was written in what the 
author designed to be the style of true history, and 
was addressed to hearers and readers, not as a tale 
of fiction, but a real narrative of facts, so that the 
legend is a proof of what the age esteemed credible, 
and were disposed to believe, as much as if it had been 
extracted from a graver chronicle. 

The renowned Saladin, it is said, had despatched 
an embassy to King Richard, with the present of a 
colt, recommended as a gallant war-horse, challenging 
Coeur de Lion to meet him in single combat between 
the armies, for the purpose of deciding at once their 
pretensions to the land of Palestine, and the theolo- 
gical question, whether the God of the Christians, 
or Jupiter, the deity of the Saracens, should be the 
future object of adoration by the subjects of both 
monarchs. Now, under this seemingly chivalrous 
defiance was concealed a most unknightly stratagem, 
and which we may, at the same time, call a very 
clumsy trick for the Devil to be concerned in. A 
Saracen clerk had conjured two devils into a mare 
and her colt, with the instruction, that whenever the 
mare neighed, the foal, which was a brute of uncom- 
mon size, should kneel down to suck his dam. The 
enchanted foal was sent to King Richard, in the be- 
lief that, the foal obeying the signal of its dam as 
usual, the Soldan, who mounted the mare, might get 
an easy advantage over him. 

But the English king was warned by an angel in a 
dream of the intended stratagem, and the colt was, 
by the celestial mandate, previously to the combat, 
conjured in the holy name, to be obedient to his rider 



76 LETTERS ON 

during- the encounter. The fiend-horse intimated his 
submission by drooping his head, but his word was 
not entirely credited. His ears were stopped with 
wax. In this condition, Richard, armed at all points, 
and with various marks of his religious faith displayed 
on his weapons, rode forth to meet Saladin, and the 
Soldan, confident of his stratagem, encountered him 
boldly. The mare neighed till she shook the ground 
for miles around. But the sucking devil, whom the 
wax prevented from hearing the summons, could not 
obey the signal. Saladin was dismounted, and nar- 
rowly escaped death, while his army were cut to I 
pieces by the Christians- It is but an awkward tale j 
of wonder, where a demon is worsted by a trick which 
could hardly have cheated a common horse-jockey; 
but by such legends our ancestors were amused and 
interested, till their belief respecting the demons of 
the Holy Land seems to have been notvery far different 
from that expressed in the title of Ben Jonson's play, 
u The Devil is an Ass." 

One of the earliest maps ever published, which ap- 
peared at Rome in the 16th century, intimates a simi- 
lar belief in the connexion of the heathen nations of 
the north of Europe with the demons of the spiritual 
world. In Esthonia, Lithuania, Couriand, and such 
districts, the chart, for want, it may be supposed, of 
an accurate account of the country, exhibits rude 
euts of the fur-clad natives paying homage at the 
shrines of demons, who make themselves visibly pre- 
sent to them ; while at other places they are dis- 
played as doing battle with the Teutonic knights, or 
other military associations formed for the conversion 
or expulsion of the heathens in these parts. Amid 
the pagans, armed with cimeters, and dressed in caf- 
tans, the fiends are painted as assisting them, por- 
trayed in all the modern horrors of the cloven-foot, 
or, as the Germans term it, horse's-foot, bat-wings, 
saucer-eyes, locks like serpents, and tail like a dra- 
gon. These attributes, it may be cursorily noticed, 



DEMONOLOGY AKD WITCHCRAFT. 77 

themselves intimate the connexion of modern demon- 
ology with the mythology of the ancients. The 
cloven foot is the attribute of Pan, to whose talents 
for inspiring terror we owe the word panic — the snaky 
tresses are borrowed from the shield of Minerva, and 
the dragon train alone seems to be connected with 
the Scriptural history.* 

Other heathen nations, whose creeds could not have 
directly contributed to the system of demonology, 
because their manners and even their very existence 
was unknown when it was adopted, were nevertheless 
involved, so soon as Europeans became acquainted 
with them, in the same charge of witchcraft and 
worship of demons, brought by the Christians of the 
middle ages against the heathens of Northern Europe 
and the Mahommedans of the East. We learn from 
the information of a Portuguese voyager, that even 
the native Christians (called those of St. Thomas), 
whom the discoverers found in India when they first 
arrived there, fell under suspicion of diabolical prac 
tices. It was almost in vain that the priests of one 
of their chapels produced to the Portuguese officers 
and soldiers a holy image, and called on them, as good 
Christians, to adore the blessed Virgin. The sculp- 
tor had been so little acquainted with his art, and the 
hideous form which he had produced resembled an 
inhabitant of the infernal regions so much more than 
Our Lady of Grace, that one of the European offi- 
cers, while, like his companions, he dropped on his 
knees, added the loud protest, that if the image re- 
presented the Devil, he paid his homage to the Holy 
Virgin. 

In South America the Spaniards justified the unre- 
lenting cruelties exercised on the unhappy natives, 
by reiterating in all their accounts of the countries 



* The chart alluded to is one of the facsimiles of an ancient plani- 
sphere, ensra%-ed in bronze, about the end of the 15th century, and called 
the Borgian Table, from its possessor. Cardinal Stephen Borgia, and 
preserved in his Museum at Veletri. 
G2 



78 LETTERS ON 

which they discovered and conquered, that the 
Indians, in their idol-worship, were favoured by the 
demons with a direct intercourse, and that their 
priests inculcated doctrines and rites the foulest and 
most abhorrent to Christian ears. The great Snake- 
god of Mexico and other idols, worshipped with hu- 
man sacrifices, and bathed in the gore of their pri-d 
soners, gave but too much probability to this accu- 
sation ; and if the images themselves were not ac-( 
tually tenanted by evil spirits, the worship which the 
Mexicans paid to them was founded upon such deadly 
cruelty and dark superstition, as might easily be be- 1 
lieved to have been breathed into mortals by thei 
agency of hell. 

Even in North America, the first settlers in New- J 
England, and other parts of that immense continent, 
uniformly agreed that they detected, among the inha-| 
bitants, traces of an intimate connexion with Satan. I 
It is scarce necessary to remark, that this opinion was J 
founded exclusively upon the tricks practised by thei 
native powahs, or cunning men, to raise themselves j 
to influence among the chiefs, and to obtain esteem] 
with the people, which, possessed as they were pro-] 
fessionally of some skill in jugglery, and the know-] 
ledge of some medical herbs and secrets, the under- j 
standing of the colonists was unable to trace to their i 
real source — legerdemain and imposture. By the] 
account, however, of the Reverend Cotton Mather,! 
in his Magnalia, book vi.,* he does not ascribe to these 
Indian conjurers any skill greatly superior to a maker 
of almanacs, or common fortune-teller. " They," \ 
says the Doctor, "universally acknowledged and) 
worshipped many gods, and therefore highly 
esteemed and reverenced their priests, powahs, orj 
wizards, who were esteemed as having immediate 
converse with the gods. To them, therefore, they j 
addressed themselves in all difficult cases ; yet could j 

* On Remarkable Mercies of Diviue Providence 



DEMONOLOCi' AND WITCHCRAFT. 79 

not all that desired that dignity, as they esteemed it, 
obtain familiarity with the infernal spirits. Nor 
were ail powahs alike successful in their addresses ; 
but they became such, either by immediate revelation, 
or in the use of certain rites and ceremonies, which 
tradition had left as conducing to that end. Inso- 
much, that parents, out of zeal, often dedicated their 
children to the gods, and educated them accordingly, 
observing a certain diet, debarring sleep, &c. : yet 
of the many designed, but few obtained their desire. 
Supposing that where the practice of witchcraft has 
been highly esteemed, there must be given the 
plainest demonstration of mortals having familiarity 
with infernal spirits, I am willing to let my reader 
fenow, that, not many years since, there died one of the 
powahs, who never pretended to astrological know- 
edge, yet could precisely inform such who desired 
lis assistance, from whence goods stolen from them 
.vere gone, and whither carried, with many things 
)f the like nature ; nor was he ever known to endea- 
vour to conceal his knowledge to be immediately/wn 
i god subservient to him that the English worship. This 
)owah being, by an Englishman worthy of credit (who 
ately informed me of the same), desired to advise 
lim who had taken certain goods which had been 
stolen, having formerly been an eye-witness of his 
ibility, the powah, after a little pausing, demanded 
vhy he requested that from him, since himself served 
mother God ? that therefore he could not help him ; 
)ut added, ' If you can believe that my god may help 
fou, I will try what I can do ;' which diverted the 
nan from farther inquiry. I must a little digress, 
md tell my reader, that this powah's wife was ac- 
counted a godly woman, and lived in the practice 
md profession of the Christian religion, not only by 
;he approbation but encouragement of her husband. 
She constantly prayed in the family, and attended the 
oublic worship on the Lord's days. He declared that 
le could not blame her, for that she served a god that 



80 LETTERS ON 

was above his ; but that, as to himself, his god's con 
tinued kindness obliged him not to forsake his sei-s 
vice." It appears, from the above and similar pas-ij 
sages, that Dr. Cotton Mather, an honest and devoui 
but sufficiently credulous man, had mistaken the pur-, 
pose of the tolerant powah. The latter only desired 
to elude the necessity of his practices being broughi 
under the observant eye of an European, while he 
found an ingenious apology in the admitted supe- 
riority which he naturally conceded to the Deity of e 
people, advanced, as he might well conceive, so fai 
above his own in power and attainments, as mighi 
reasonably infer a corresponding superiority in thejj 
nature and objects of their worship. 

From another narrative, we are entitled to infeu 
that the European wizard was held superior to the] 
native sorcerer of North America. Among the numl 
berless extravagances of the Scottish Dissenters ofi 
the 17th century, now canonized in a lump by thos>| 
who view them in the general light of enemies tc 
prelacy, was a certain ship-master, called, from his 
size, Meikle John Gibb. This man, a person callec 
Jamie, and one or two other men, besides twenty oi 
thirty females who adhered to them, went the wildes 1 
lengths of enthusiasm. Gibb headed a party, who 
followed him into the moorlands, and at the Fore 
Moss, between Airth and Stirling, burned their Bibles 
as an act of solemn adherence to their new faith 
They were apprehended in consequence, and com-'j 
mitted to prison ; and the rest of the Dissenters 
however differently they were affected by the perse- 
cution of government, when it applied to themselves 
were nevertheless much offended that these poor mac 
people were not brought to capital punishment foi 
their blasphemous extravagances ; and imputed it as a 
fresh crime to the Duke of York, that, though he coulc 
not be often accused of toleration, he considered the 
discipline of the house of correction as more likely 
to bring the unfortunate Gibbites to their senses, than 



DEM0N0L0GY AND WITCHCRAFT. 81 

the more dignified severities of a public trial and the 
gallows. The Oameronians, however, did their best 
to correct this scandalous lenity. As Meikle John 
Gibb, wno was their comrade in captivity, used to dis- 
turb their worship in jail by his maniac howling, 
two of them took turn about to hold him down by 
'force, and silence him by a napkin thrust into his 
mouth. This mode of quieting the unlucky heretic, 
though sufficiently emphatic, being deemed ineffec- 
tual or inconvenient, George Jackson, a Cameronian, 
who afterward suffered at the gallows, dashed the 
maniac with his feet and hands against the wall, and 
beat him so severely, that the rest were afraid that 
|he had killed him outright. After which specimen 
iof fraternal chastisement, the lunatic, to avoid the 
[repetition of the discipline, whenever the prisoners 
'•began worship, ran behind the door, and there, 
[with his own napkin crammed into his mouth, sat 
'howling like a chastised cur. But on being finally 
itransported to America, John Gibb, we are assured, 
was much admired by the heathen for his familiar 
[converse with the Devil bodily, and offering sacrifices 
ito him. " He died there," says Walker, " about the 
year 1720."* We must necessarily infer, that the 
pretensions of the natives to supernatural communi- 
fcation could not be of a high class, since we find them 
[honouring this poor madman as their superior : and, 
iin general, that the magic, or powahing, of the North 
[American Indians, was not of a nature to be much ap- 
prehended by the British colonists, since the natives 
ithemselves gave honour and precedence to those 
Europeans who came among them with the character 
'.of possessing intercourse with the spirits whom they 
Ithemselves professed to worship. 
[ Notwithstanding this inferiority on the part of the 
[powahs, it occurred to the settlers that the heathen 

* See Patrick Walker's Biographia Presbyteriana, vol. ii. p. 23 ; also 
(God's Judgment upon Persecutors, and Wodruw's History, upon the 
article John Gibb. 



82 LETTERS ON 

Indians and Roman Catholic Frenchmen were par- 
ticularly favoured by the demons, who sometimes 
adopted their appearance, and showed themselves 1 
in their likeness, to the great annoyance of the colo-! 
nists. Thus, in the year 1692, a party of real or 
imaginary French and Indians exhibited themselves 1 
occasionally to the colonists of che town of Glou 
cester, in the county of Essex, New-England,' 
alarmed the country around very greatly, skirmished! 
repeatedly with the English, and caused the raising! 
of two regiments, and the despatching a strong rein- j 
forcement to the assistance of the settlement. But 
as these visitants, by whom they were plagued more] 
than a fortnight, though they exchanged fire with the 
settlers, never killed or scalped anyone, the English 
became convinced that they were not real Indians 
and Frenchmen, but that the Devil and his agents had 
assumed such an appearance, although seemingly 
not enabled effectually to support it, for the molesta- 
tion of the colony.* 

It appears, then, that the ideas of superstition which 
the more ignorant converts to the Christian faith 
borrowed from the wreck of the classic mythology, 
were so rooted in the minds of their successors, that 
these found corroboration of their faith in demonology 
in the practice of every pagan nation whose destiny 
it was to encounter them as enemies, and that as well 
within the limits of Europe, as in every other part of 
the globe to which their arms were carried. In a' 
word, it may be safely laid down, that the commonly 
received doctrine of demonology, presenting the 
same general outlines, though varied according to the ; 
fancy of particular nations, existed through all Eu- 
rope. It seems to have been founded originally on 
feelings incident to the human heart, or diseases to : 
which the human frame is liable, — to have been 
largely augmented by what classic superstitions sur- 

* Magnalia, book vii. article xviii. The fact is also alleged in the 
Life of Sir William Phipps. 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 83 

rived the ruins of paganism,— and to have received 
lew contributions from the opinions collected among 
he barbarous nations, whether of the east or of the 
vest. It is now necessary to enter more minutely into 
he question, an^ endeavour to trace from what espe- 
ial sources the people of the middle ages derived 
hose notions, which gradually assumed the shape 
>f a regular system of demonology. 



LETTER III. 



Ireed of Zoroaster— Received partially into most Heathen Nations— In- 
stances among the Celtic Tribes of Scotland— Beltaine Feast— Gude- 
man's Croft — Such Abuses admitted into Christianity after the earlier 
Ages of the Church — Law of the Romans against Witchcraft — Roman 
Customs survive the Fall of their Religion^Instances — Demonology 
of the Northern Barbarians — Nicksas — Bhar-geist — Correspondence 
between the Northern and Roman Witches — The Power of Fascina- 
tion ascribed to the Sorceresses — Example from the Eyrbiggia Saga — 
The Prophetesses of the Germans— The Gods of Valhalla not highly 
Tegarded by their Worshippers— Often defied by their Champions- 
Demons of the North — Story of Assueit and Asmund— Action of Eject- 
ment against Spectres — Adventure of a Champion with the Goddess 
Freya— Conversion of the Pagans of Iceland to Christianity— North- 
ern Superstitions mixed with thoseof the Celts— Satyrs of the North — 
Highland Ourisk — Meining the Satyr. 

The creed of Zoroaster, which naturally occurs to 
nassisted reason as a mode of accounting for the 
lingled existence of good and evil in the visible 
/orld — that belief which, in one modification or 
nother, supposes the coexistence of a benevolent 
nd malevolent principle, which contend together 
without either being able decisively to prevail over 
is antagonist, leads the fear and awe deeply im- 
ressed on the human mind to the worship as well 
tf the author of evil, so tremendous in all the effects 
>f which credulity accounts him the primary cause, 
.s to that of his great opponent, who is loved and 
dored as the Father of all that is good and bounti- 



84 LETTERS ON 

ful. Nay, such is the timid servility of human na- 
ture, that the worshippers will neglect the altars of 
the Author of good, rather than that of Arimanes, 
trusting with indifference to the well-known mercy 
of the one, while they shrink from the idea of irri- ! 
tating the vengeful jealousy of the awful father of ; 
evil. 

The Celtic tribes, by whom, under various denomi- i 
nations, Europe seems to have been originally peo- 
pled, possessed, in common with other savages, a 
natural tendency to the worship of the evil principle. 
They did not, perhaps, adore Arimanes, under one 
sole name, or consider the malignant divinities as 
sufficiently powerful to undertake a direct struggle 
with the more benevolent gods ; yet they thought it 
worth while to propitiate them by various expiatory 
rites and prayers, that they, and the elementary tem- 
pests, which they conceived to be under their direct 
command, might be merciful to suppliants who had! 
acknowledged their power, and deprecated their ven- 
geance. 

Remains of these superstitions might be traced till 
past the middle of the last century, though fast be- 
coming obsolete, or passing into mere popular cus- 
toms of the country, which the peasantry observe, 
without thinking of their origin. About 1769, when 
Mr. Pennant made his tour, the ceremony of the 
Baaltein, Beltane, or First of May, though varying 
in different districts of the Highlands, was yet in 
strict observance; and the cake, which was then 
baken with scrupulous attention to certain rites and 
forms, was divided into fragments, which were for- 
mally dedicated to birds or beasts of prey, that they, 
or rather the being whose agents they were, might 
spare the flocks and herds.* 

Another custom of similar origin lingered late 

* See Pennant's Scottish Tour, vol. i. p. 111. The traveller mentions 
that some festival of the same kind was, in his time, observed in Glouces- 
tershire. 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 85 

[among us. In many parishes of Scotland there was 
! suffered to exist a certain portion of land, called the 
ispidemari's croft, which was never ploughed or eulti- 
[Vated, but suffered to remain waste, like the Temenos 
bf a pagan temple. Though it was not expressly- 
avowed, no one doubted that the gudeman's croft was 
set apart for some evd being ; in fact, that it was the 
portion of the arch-fiend himself, whom our ances- 
tors distinguished by a name, which, while it was 
[generally understood, could not, it was supposed, be 
Offensive to the stern inhabitant of the regions of 
despair. This was so general a custom, that the 
[Church published an ordinance against it as an im- 
pious and blasphemous usage. 

This singular custom sunk before the efforts of the 
clergy in the seventeenth century ; but there must 
still be many alive, who in childhood have been 
caught to look with wonder on knolls and patches of 
ground left uncultivated, because, whenever a plough- 
share entered the soil, the elementary spirits were 
supposed to testify their displeasure by storm and 
[i thunder. Within our own memory, many such 
iplaces, sanctified to barrenness by some favourite 
popular superstition, existed, both in Wales and Ire- 
|iand, as well as in Scotland; but the high price of 
agricultural produce during the late war, renders it 
doubtful if a veneration for gray-bearded superstition 
has suffered any one of them to remain undesecrated. 
For the same reason, the mounts called Sith Bhru- 
aith were respected, and it was deemed unlawful and 
dangerous to cut wood, dig earth and stones, or 
[otherwise disturb them.* 

Now, it may at first sight seem strange that the 
[Christian -religion should have permitted the exist- 
ence of such gross and impious relics of heathenism, 
in a land where its doctrines had obtained universal 
credence. But this will not appear so wonderful, 

* See Essay on the Subterranean Commonwealth, by Mr. Robert 
Kirke, Minister of Aberfoyle. 

H 



86 LETTERS ON 

when it is recollected that the original Christians 
under the heathen emperors were called to conver- 
sion by the voice of apostles and saints, invested for; 
the purpose with miraculous powers, as well of lan- 
guage, for communicating their doctrine to the Gen- 
tiles, as of cures, for the purpose of authenticating 
their mission. These converts must have been in 
general such elect persons as were effectually called 
to make part of the infant Church ; and when hypo- 
crites ventured, like Ananias and Sapphira, to in- 
trude themselves into so select an association, they 
were liable, at the Divine pleasure, to be detected 
and punished. On the contrary, the nations who 
were converted after Christianity had become the 
religion of the empire were not brought within the' 
pale upon such a principle of selection, as when thei 
Church consisted of a few individuals, who had, upon: 
conviction, exchanged the errors of the pagan 7'eli- 
gion for the dangers and duties incurred by those 
who embraced a faith inferring the self-denial of its 
votaries, and at the same time exposing them to perse- 
cution. When the Cross became triumphant, and its 
cause no longer required the direction of inspired 
men, or the evidence of miracles, to compel reluc- 
tant belief, it is evident that the converts who 
thronged into the fold must have, many of them, en- 
tered because Christianity was the prevailing faith — 
many because it was the church, the members of 
which rose most readily to promotion — many, finally, 
who, though content to resign the worship of pagan 
divinities, could not, at once, clear their minds of 
heathen ritual and heathen observances, which they 
inconsistently laboured to unite with the more sim- 
ple and majestic faith that disdained such impure 
union. If this was the case even in the Roman em- 
pire, where the converts to the Christian faith must 
nave found, among the earlier members of the 
Church, the readiest and the soundest instruction, 
Low much more imperfectly cculd those foreign and 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 87 

baroarous tribes receive the necessary religious in- 
formation from some zealous and enthusiastic 
preacher, who christened them by hundreds in one 
day? Still less could we imagine them to have 
acquired a knowledge of Christianity, in the genuine 
and perfect sense of the word, when, as was fre- 
quently the case, they only assumed the profession 
of the religion that had become the choice of some 
favoured chief, whose example they followed in 
mere love and loyalty, without, perhaps, attaching 
more consequence to a change of religion than to a 
change of garments. Such hasty converts, profess- 
ing themselves Christians, but neither weaned from 
their old belief, nor instructed in their new one, en- 
tered the sanctuary without laying aside the super- 
stitions with which their young minds had been 
imbued ; and, accustomed to a plurality of deities, 
some of them, who bestowed unusual thought on the 
matter, might be of opinion, that, in adopting the 
God of the Christians, they had not renounced the 
service of every inferior power. 

If, indeed, the laws of the empire could have been 
supposed to have had any influence over those fierce 
barbarians, who conceived that the empire itself lay 
before them as a spoil, they might have been told 
that Constantine, taking the offence of alleged magi- 
cians and sorcerers in the same light in which it was 
viewed in the law of Moses, had denounced death 
against any one who used these unlawful inquiries 
into futurity. " Let the unlawful curiosity of prying 
into futurity," says the law, "be silent in every 
one henceforth and for ever.* For, subjected to the 
avenging 6word of the law, he shall be punished 
capitally who disobeys our commands in this matter." 

If, however, we look more closely into this enact- 
ment, we shall be led to conclude that the civil law 
does not found upon the prohibitions and penalties 

* Codex, lib. ix. tit. 18, cap. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8. 



88 LETTERS ON 

in Scripture ; although it condemns the ars mathe- 
matica (for the most mystic and uncertain of all 
sciences, real or pretended, at that time held the 
title which now distinguishes the most exact) as aj 
damnable art, and utterly interdicted, and declares : 
that the practitioners therein should die by fire, as 
enemies of the human race — yet, the reason of this! 
severe treatment seems to be different from that] 
acted upon in the Mosaical institutions. The weight J 
of the crime among the Jews was placed on the 
blasphemy of the diviners, and their treason against 
the theocracy instituted by Jehovah. The Roman 
legislators were, on the other hand, moved chiefly 
by the danger arising to the person of the prince 
and the quiet of the state, so apt to be unsettled by 
every pretence or encouragement to innovation. 
The reigning emperors, therefore, were desirous to 
place a check upon the mathematics (as they termed 
the art of divination), much more for a political than 
a religious cause, since we observe, in the history of 
the empire, how often the dethronement or death of 
the sovereign was produced by conspiracies or mu- 
tinies which took their rise from pretended pro- 
phecies. In this mode of viewing the crime, the 
lawyers of the lower empire acted upon the example 
of those who had compiled the laws of the twelve 
tables.* The mistaken and misplaced devotion 
which Horace recommends to the rural nymph, 
Phidyle, would have been a crime of a deep die in I 

_ * By this more ancient code, the punishment of death was indeed 
denounced against those who destroyed crops, awakened storms, or 
brought over to their barns and garners the fruits of the earth ; but, by 
good fortune, it left the agriculturists of the period at liberty to use the 
means they thought most proper to render their fields fertile and plenti- 
ful. Pliny informs us, that one Caius Furius Cresinus, a Roman of 
mean estate, raised larger crops from a small field, than his neighbours 
could obtain from more ample possessions. He was brought before the 
judce, upon a charge, averring that he conjured the fruits of the earth, 
produced by his neighbours' farms, into his own possession. Cresinus 
appeared, and, having proved the return of his farm to be the produce 
tf his own hard and unremitting labour, as well as superior skill, was 
iismissed with the highest honours. 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 89 

a Christian convert, and must have subjected him to 
excommunication, as one relapsed to the rites of 
paganism ; but he might indulge his superstition, by 
supposing, that though he must not worship Pan or 
Ceres, as gods, he was at liberty to fear them in their 
new capacity of fiends. Some compromise between 
the fear and the conscience of the new converts, at 
a time when the Church no longer consisted exclu- 
sively of saints, martyrs, and confessors, the disci- 
ples of inspired Apostles, led them, and even their 
priestly guides, subject like themselves to human 
passions and errors, to resort as a charm, if not as 
an act of worship, to those sacrifices, words, and 
ritual, by which the heathen, whom they had suc- 
ceeded, pretended to arrest evil, or procure benefits. 

When such belief in a hostile principle and its 
imaginations was become general in the Roman 
empire, the ignorance of its conquerors, those wild 
nations, Franks, Goths, Vandals, Huns, and similar 
classes of unrefined humanity, made them prone to 
an error which there were few judicious preachers 
to warn them against ; and we ought rather to won- 
der and admire the Divine clemency, which imparted 
to so rude nations the light of the Gospel, and dis- 
posed them to receive a religion so repugnant to 
their warlike habits, than that they should, at the 
same time, have adopted many gross superstitions, 
borrowed from the pagans, or retained numbers of 
those which had made part of their own national 
forms of heathenism. 

Thus, though the thrones of Jupiter, and the supe- 
rior deities of the heathen Pantheon, were totally 
overthrown and broken to pieces, fragments of their 
worship, and many of their rites, survived the con 
version to Christianity, — nay, are in existence evert 
at this late and enlightened period, although thosa 
by whom they are practised have not preserved the 
least memory of their original purpose. We may 
hastily mention one or two customs of classical 
H2 



90 LETTERS ON 

origin, in addition to the Beltane and those alreadj 
noticed, which remain as examples that the manners 
of the Romans once gave the tone to the greatei 
part of the island of Britain, and at least to the whole 
which was to the south of the wall of Severus. 

The following customs still linger in the south of 
Scotland, and belong to this class : The bride, wher 
she enters the house of her husband, is lifted ovei 
the threshold, and to step on it, or over it, volun- 
tarily, is reckoned a bad omen. This custom was 
universal in Rome, where it was observed as keep- 
ing in memory the rape of the Sabines, and that | 
was by a show of violence towards the females, that 
the object of peopling the city was attained. On the 
same occasion, a sweet cake, baked for the purpose 
is broken above the head of the bride ; which is alsc 
a rite of classic antiquity. 

In like manner, the Scottish, even of the bette.: 
rank, avoid contracting marriage in the month of 
May, which genial season of flowers and breezes; 
might, in other respects, appear so peculiarly fa- 
vourable for that purpose. It was specially objected: 
to the marriage of Mary with the profligate Earl of 
Bothwell, that the union was formed within this in- 
terdicted month. This prejudice was so rooted 
among the Scots, that, in 1684, a set of enthusiasts,' 
called Gibbites, proposed to renounce it, among a 
long list of stated festivals, fast days, popish relics, 
not forgetting the profane names of the days of the 
week, names of the months, and all sorts of idle and 
silly practices which their tender consciences took 
an exception to. This objection to solemnize mar- 
riage in the merry month of May, however fit a sea- 
son for courtship, is also borrowed from the Roman- 
pagans, which, had these fanatics been aware of it, 
would have been an additional reason for their ana- 
thema against the practice. The ancients have givea 
us as a maxim, that it is only bad women why marry: 
in that month.* 

* Mate nubent Maia. 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 91 

The custom of saying, God bless you, when a 
person in company sneezes, is, in like manner, de- 
rived from sternutation being considered as a crisis 
of the plague at Athens, and the hope that, when it 
was attained, the patient had a chance of recovery. 

But, besides these, and many other customs which 
the various nations of Europe receive from the 
classical times, and which it is not our object to in- 
vestigate, they derived from thence a shoal of super- 
stitious beliefs, which, blended and mingled with 
those which they brought with them out of their own 
country, fostered and formed the materials of a 
demonological creed, which has descended down 
almost to our own times. Nixas, or Nicksa, a river 
or ocean god, worshipped on the shores of the 
Baltic, seems to have taken uncontested possession 
of the attributes of Neptune. Amid the twilight 
winters and overpowering tempests of these gloomy 
regions, he had been not unnaturally chosen as the 
power most adverse to man, and the supernatural 
character with which he was invested has descended 
to our time under two different aspects. The Nixa 
of the Germans is one of those fascinating and lovely 
fays whom the ancients termed Naiads ; and, unless 
her pride is insulted, or her jealousy awakened, by 
an inconstant lover, her temper is generally mild, 
and her actions beneficent. The Old Nick, known 
in England, is an equally genuine descendant of the 
northern sea god, and possesses a larger portion of 
his powers and terrors. The British sailor, who 
fears nothing else, confesses his terrors for this ter- 
rible being, and believes him the author of almost 
all the various calamities to which the precarious life 
of a seaman is so continually exposed. 

The Bhar-guest, or Bhar-geist, by which name it 
is generally acknowledged through various country 
parts of England, and particularly in Yorkshire, also 
called a Dobie — a local spectre which haunts a par- 
ticular spot under various forms — is a deity, as his 



92 LETTERS ON 

name implies, of Teutonic descent ; and if it be true, \ 
as the author has been informed, that some families 
bearing the name of Dobie cairy a phantom, or 
spectre passant, in their armorial bearings,* it plainly ( 
implies, that, however the word may have been 
selected for a proper name, its original derivation had 
not then been forgotten. 

The classic mythology presented numerous points i 
in which it readily coalesced with that of the Ger- I 
mans, Danes, and Northmen of a later period. They I 
recognised the power of Erictho, Canidia, and other i| 
sorceresses, whose spells could perplex the course of I 
the elements, intercept the influence of the sun, and | 
prevent his beneficial operation upon the fruits of the 
earth ; call down the moon from her appointed sphere, 
and disturb the original and destined course of nature 
by their words and charms, and the power of the evil 
spirits whom they evoked. They were also profes- 
sionally implicated in all such mystic and secret rites 
and ceremonies as were used to conciliate the favour 
of the infernal powers, whose dispositions were sup- 
posed as dark and wayward, as their realms were | 
gloomy and dismal. Such hags were frequent agents 
in the violation of unburied bodies, and it was be- 
lieved, by the vulgar at least, that it was dangerous 
to leave corpses unguarded, lest they should be 
mangled by the witches, who took from them the 
most choice ingredients composing their charms. 
Above all, it must not be forgotten that these fright- 
ful sorceresses possessed the power of transforming 
themselves and others into animals, which are used 
in their degree of quadrupeds, or in whatever other 
laborious occupation belongs to the transformed 
state. The poets of the heathens, with authors of 

* A similar bearing has been ascribed: for the same reason, to those of 
the name of Fantome, who carried of old a goblin, or phantom, in a shroud 
gable passant, on afield azure. Both bearings are founded on what 
19 called canting heraldry, a species of art disowned by the writers on 
the science, yet universally made use of by thos^ who practise the art 
of blazonry. 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 93 

fiction, such as Lucian and Apuleius, ascribe all these 
powers to the witches of the pagan world, combining 
;them with the art of poisoning, and of making magical 
filters, to seduce the affections of the young and 
beautiful ; and such were the characteristics which, 
in greater or less extent, the people of the middle 
ages ascribed to the witches of their day. 

But in thus adopting the superstitions of the 
ancients, the conquerors of the Roman empire com- 
bined them with similar articles of belief, which they 
had brought with them from their original settlements 
in the North, where the existence of hags of the 
same character formed a great feature in their Sagas 
and their Chronicles. It requires but a slight acquaint- 
ance with these compositions, to enable the reader 
to recognise in the Galdrakinna of the Scalds, the 
Stryga, or witch-woman of more classical climates, 
[n the northern ideas of witches, there was no irre- 
ligion concerned with their lore ; on the contrary, the 
possession of magical knowledge was an especial 
attribute of Odin himself ; and to intrude themselves 
upon a Deity, and compel him to instruct them in 
what they desired to know, was accounted not an act 
of impiety, but of gallantry and high courage, among 
those sons of the sword and the spear. Their matrons 
possessed a high reputation for magic, for prophetic 
powers, for creating illusions ; and, if not capable of 
transformations of the human body, they were at 
least able to impose such fascination on the sight of 
their enemies, as to conceal for a period the objects 
of which they were in search. 

There is a remarkable story in the Eyrbiggia Saga 
(Historia Eyranorum), giving the result of such a 
controversy between two of these gifted women, one 
of whom was determined on discovering and putting 
to death the son of the other, named Katla, who in a 
brawl had cut off the hand of the daughter-in-law 
of Gierada. A party detached to avenge this wrong, 
by putting Oddo to death, returned deceived by the 



94 LETTERS OX 

skill of his mother. They had found only Katla 
they said, spinning flax from a large distaff. " Fools,' 
said Geirada, " that distaff was the man you sought. 1 
They returned, seized the distaff, and burned it. Bu < 
this second time, the witch disguised her son unde j 
the appearance of a tame kid. A third time he waij 
a hog, which grovelled among the ashes. The part] i 
returned yet again ; augmented, as one of Katla'J 
maidens, who kept watch, informed her mistress, b] 
one in a blue mantle. "Alas!" said Katla, "it i: 
the sorceress Geirada, against whom spells avail not.' 
Accordingly, the hostile party, entering for the fourtl 
time, seized on the object of their animosity, andpu 
him to death.* This species of witchcraft _ is wel 
known in Scotland as the glamour, or deceptio visus 
and was supposed to be a special attribute of the rac< 
of Gipsies. 

Neither are those prophetesses to be forgotten, si 
much honoured among the German tribes, that, as> 
we are assured by Tacitus, they rose to the highest 
rank in their councils, by their supposed supernatural 
knowledge, and even obtained a share in the direct 
tion of their armies. This peculiarity in the habits 
of the North was so general, that it was no unusuaj 
thing to see females, from respect to their supposed 
views into futurity, and the degree of divine inspira-) 
tion which was vouchsafed to them, arise to the deJ 
gree of Haxa, or chief priestess, from which comes 
the word Hexe, now universally used for a witch ; 3 
circumstance which plainly shows, that the mythoJ 
logical system of the ancient natives of the North 
had given to the modern language an appropriate! 
word for distinguishing those females who had inter-f 
course with the spiritual world.f 



* Eyrbiggia Saga, in Northern Antiquities. 

I It may be worth while to notice, that the word Haxa is still used 
in Scotland in its sense of a druidess, or chief priestess, to distinguish, 
the places where such females exercised their ritual. There is a speciesj 
of small intrenchment on the western descent of the Eildon hills, which] 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 95 

i It is undeniable that these Pythonesses were held 
i In high respect while the pagan religion lasted ; but 
Ijbr that very reason they became odious so soon as 
' ;he tribe was converted to Christianity. They were, 
; <>f course, if they pretended to retain their influence, 
t ither despised as impostors, or feared as sorceresses ; 
f .nd the more that, in particular instances, they be- 
larae dreaded for their power, the more they were 
l etested, under the conviction that they derived it 
I rom the enemy of man. The deities of the northern 
| eathens underwent a similar metamorphosis, re- 
lembling that proposed by Drawcansir in the Re- 
jiearsal, who threatens "to make a god subscribe 
limself a devil." 
The warriors of the North received this new im- 
ression concerning the influence of their deities, 
nd the source from which it was derived, with the 
lore indifference, as their worship, when their my- 
rology was most generally established, was never 
f a very reverential or devotional character. Their 
ileas of their own merely human prowess was so 
tigh, that the champions made it their boast, as we 
ave already hinted, they would not give way in fight 
iven to the immortal gods themselves. Such, we 
jjarn from Cesar, was the idea of the Germans con- 
cerning the Suevi or Swabians, a tribe to whom the 
triers yielded the palm of valour ; and many indi- 
idual stories are told in the Sagas concerning bold 
hampions, Avho had fought, not only with the sor- 
ters, but with the demigods of the system, and 
ome off unharmed, if not victorious, in the contest 

tr. Milne, in his account of Ihe parish of Melrose, drawn up about 
ghty years ago, says was denominated Bourjo, a word of unknown 
;rivation, by which the place is still known. Here a universal and 
ibsisting tradition bore, that human sacrifices were of yore offered, 
rhile the people assisting could behuld the ceremony from the elevation 
r the glacis, which slopes inward. With this place of sacrifice com- 
lunicated a path, still discernible, called the Haxellgate, leading to a 
nail glen, or narrow valley, called the Haxellcleuch— both which 
-ords are probably derived from the Haxa, or chief priestess of tha 
agans. 



96 LETTERS ON 

Hother, for example, encountered the god Thor ir 
battle, as Diomede, in the Iliad, engages with Mars 
and with like success. Bartholine* gives us repeatec 
examples of the same kind. "Know this," saic 
Kiartan to Olaus Trigguasen, " that I believe neithei 
in idols or demons. I have travelled through various 
strange countries, and have encountered many giants 
and monsters, and have never been conquered b\ 
them; I therefore put my sole trust in my own 
strength of body and courage of soul." Another ye' 
more broad answer was made to St. Olaus, King o: 
Norway, by Gaukater. "I am neither pagan noi 
Christian. My comrades and I profess no other re- 
ligion than a perfect confidence in our own strengtl 
and invincibdity in battle." Such chieftains were, 
of the sect of Mezentius — 

<! Dextra mihi Deus, et telum, quod missile lib/o, 
Nunc adsint !"t 

And we cannot wonder that champions of such i 
character, careless of their gods while yet acknow- 
ledged as such, readily regarded them as demons 
after their conversion to Christianity. 

To incur the highest extremity of danger became 
. accounted a proof of that insuperable valour for which 
every Northman desired to be famed, and theii 
annals afford numerous instances of encounters with 
ghosts, witches, furies, and fiends, whom the Kiempe. 
or champions, compelled to submit to their mere 
mortal strength, and yield to their service the 
weapons or other treasures which they guarded in 
their tombs. 

The Norsemen were the more prone to these su- 
perstitions, because it was a favourite fancy of theirs 
that, in many instances, the change from life to 
death altered the temper of the human spirit from 

* De causis contempts necis, lib. i. cap. 6. 
t -iEneid, lib. x. line 773, 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 97 

benignant to malevolent ; or perhaps, that when the 
soul left the body, its departure was occasionally 
supplied by a wicked demon, who took the opportu- 
nity to enter and occupy its late habitation. 

Upon such a supposition the wild fiction that fol- 
lows is probably grounded ; which, extravagant as 
it is, possesses something striking to the imagination. 
Saxo Grammaticus tells us of the fame of two Norse 
princes or chiefs, who had formed what was called a 
brotherhood in arms, implying not only the firmest 
friendship and constant support during all the adven 
tures which they should undertake in life, but bind- 
ing them by a solemn compact, that after the death 
}f either, the surviver should descend alive into the 
sepulchre of his brother-in-arms, and consent to be 
Duried along with him. The task of fulfilling this 
Ireadful compact fell upon Asmund, his companion, 
\ssueit, having been slain in battle. The tomb was 
brmed after the ancient northern custom in what 
vas called the age of hills, — that is, when it was 
lsual to bury persons of distinguished merit or rank 
>n some conspicuous spot, which was crowned with 
l mound. With this purpose a deep narrow vault 
vas constructed, to be the apartment of the future 
omb over which the sepulchral heap was to be piled, 
lere they deposited arms, trophies, poured forth, 
>erhaps, the blood of victims, introduced into the 
omb the war-horses of the champions, and when 
hese rites had been duly paid, the body of Assueit 
vas placed in the dark and narrow house, while his 
aithful brother-in-arms entered and sat down by the 
orpse, without a word or look which testified regret 
>r unwillingness to fulfil his fearful engagement, 
rhe soldiers who had witnessed this singular inter- 
nent of the dead and living, rolled a huge stone to 
he mouth of the tomb, and piled so much earth and 
tones above the spot as made a mound visible from 
. great distance, and then, with loud lamentation for 
he loss of such undaunted leaders, they dispersed 
I 



98 LETTERS ON 

themselves like a flock which has lost its shep- 
herd. 

Years passed away after years, and a century had 
elapsed, ere a noble Swedish rover, bound upon some 
high adventure, and supported by a gallant band of 
followers, arrived in the valley which took its name 
from the tomb of the brethren-in-arms. The story 
was told to the strangers, whose leader determined 
on opening the sepulchre, partly because, as already 
hinted, it was reckoned a heroic action to brave the 
anger of departed heroes by violating their tombs ; 
partly to attain the arms and swords of proof with 
which the deceased had done their great actions. He 
set his soldiers to work, and soon removed the earth 
and stones from one side of the mound, and laid bare 
the entrance. But the stoutest of the rovers started 
back, when, instead of the silence of a tomb, they 
heard within horrid cries, the clash of swords, the 
clang of armour, and all the noise of a mortal com- 
bat between two furious champions. A young war- 
rior was let down into the profound tomb by a cord, 
which was drawn up shortly after, in hopes of news 
from beneath. But when the adventurer descended, 
some one threw him from the cord, and took his 
place in the noose. When the rope was pulled up, 
the soldiers, instead of their companion, beheld As- 
mund, the survive r of the brethren-in-arms. He 
rushed into the open air, his sword drawn in his hand, 
his armour half torn from his body, the left side of 
his face almost scratched off, as by the talons of 
some wild beast. He had no sooner appeared in the 
light of day, than, with the improvisatory poetic 
talent which these champions often united with heroic 
strength and bravery, he poured forth a string of 
verses containing the history of his hundred years' 
conflict within the tomb. It seems that no sooner 
was the sepulchre closed than the corpse of the slain 
Assueit arose from the ground, inspired by some ra- 
venous goule, and having first torn to pieces and de- 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 99 

voured the horses which had been entombed with 
them, threw himself upon the companion who had 
just given him such a sign of devoted friendship, in 
order to treat him in the same manner. The hero, 
no way discoimtenanced by the horrors of his situa- 
tion, took to his anus, and defended himself manfully 
against Assueit, or rather against the evil demon 
who tenanted that champion's body. In this manner 
the living brother waged a preternatural combat, 
which had endured during a whole century, when As- 
mund, at last obtaining the victory, prostrated his 
enemy, and by driving, as he boasted, a stake through 
his body, had finally reduced him to the state of quiet 
becoming a tenant of the tomb. Having chanted the 
triumphant account of his contest and victory, this 
mangled conqueror fell dead before them. The body 
of Assueit was taken out of the tomb, burned, and the 
ashes dispersed to heaven ; while that of the victor, 
now lifeless, and without a companion, was deposited 
tnere, so that it was hoped his slumbers might 
remain undisturbed.* The precautions taken against 
Assueit's reviving a second time, remind us of those 
adopted in the Greek islands, and in the Turkish pro- 
vinces, against the vampire. It affords also a deri- 
vation of the ancient English law in case of suicide, 
when a stake was driven through the body, originally 
to keep it secure in the tomb. 

The Northern people also acknowledged a kind of 
ghosts, who, when they had obtained possession of a 
building, or the right of haunting it, did not defend 
themselves against mortals on the knightly principle 
of duel, like Assueit, nor were amenable to the 
prayers of the priest or the spells of the sorcerer, but 
became tractable when properly convened in a legal 
process. The Eyrbiggia Saga acquaints us, that the 
mansion of a respectable landholder in Iceland was, 
soon after the settlement of that island, exposed to a 

* See Saxo Grammaticus, Hist. Dan. lib. v. 



100 LETTERS ON 

persecution of this kind. The molestation was pro- 
duced by the concurrence of certain mystical and 
spectral phenomena, calculated to introduce such 
persecution. About the commencement of winter, 
with that slight exchange of darkness and twilight 
which constitutes night and day in these latitudes, a 
contagious disease arose in a family of consequence, 
and in the neighbourhood, which, sweeping off seve- 
ral members of the family at different times, seemed 
to threaten them all with death. But the death of 
these persons was attended with the singular conse- 
quence, that their spectres were seen to wander in 
the neighbourhood of the mansion-house, terrifying, 
and even assaulting, those of the living family who 
ventured abroad. As the number of the dead mem- 
bers of the devoted household seemed to increase in 
proportion to that of the survivers, the ghosts took 
it upon them to enter the house, and produce their 
aerial forms and wasted physiognomy, even in the 
stove where the fire was maintained for the general 
use of the inhabitants, and which, in an Iceland win- 
ter, is the only comfortable place of assembling the 
family. But the remaining inhabitants of the place, 
terrified by the intrusion of these spectres, chose ra- 
ther to withdraw to the other extremity of the house, 
and abandon their warm seats, than to endure the: 
neighbourhood of the phantoms. Complaints were 
at length made to a pontiff of the god Thor, named, 
Snorro, who exercised considerable influence in the; 
island. By his counsel, the young proprietor of the: 
haunted mansion assembled a jury, or inquest, of his, 
neighbours, constituted in the usual judicial form, as| 
if to judge an ordinary civil matter, and proceeded,, 
in their presence, to cite individually the various 
phantoms and resemblances of the deceased mem- 
bers of the family, to show by what warrant they dis- 
puted with him and his servants the quiet possession; 
of his property, and what defence they could plead 
for thus interfering with and incommoding the living. 



DEMONOLOGV AND WITCHCRAFT. 101 

The spectres of the dead, by name, and in order, 
as summoned, appeared on their being called, and 
muttering some regrets at being obliged to abandon 
their dwelling, departed, or vanished, from the as- 
tonished inquest. Judgment then went against the 
ghosts by default ; and the trial by jury, of which we 
iere can trace the origin, obtained a triumph un- 
known to any of the great writers who have made it 
he subject of eulogy.* 

It was not only with the spirits of the dead that 
he warlike people of the North made war without 
imidity, and successfully entered into suits of eject- 
nent : these daring champions often braved the in- 
iignation even of the superior deities of their my- 
hology, rather than allow that there existed any 
>eing before whom their boldness could quail. Such 
s the singular story, how a young man of high 
ourage, in crossing a desolate ridge of mountains, 
net with a huge wagon, in which the goddess 
^reya, (i. e. a gigantic idoi formed to represent her), 
ogether with her shrine, and the wealthy offerings 
ttached to it, was travelling from one district of the 
ountry to another. The shrine, or sanctuary of the 
dol, was, like a modern caravan travelling with a 
how, screened by boards and curtains from the 
ublic gaze, and the equipage was under the imme- 
iate guidance of the priestess of Freya, a young, 
ood-looking, and attractive woman. The traveller 
aturally associated himself with the priestess, who, 
s she walked on foot, apparently was in no degree 
ispleased with the company of a powerful and 
andsome young man, as a guide and companion on 
le journey. It chanced, however, that the presence 
f the champion, and his discourse with the priestess, 
r as less satisfactory to the goddess than to the par- 
es principally concerned. By a certain signal the 
ivinity summoned the priestess to the sanctuary 

* Eyrbiggia Saga. See Northern Antiquities. 
12 



102 LETTERS ON 

who presently returned with tears in her eyes, and 
terror in her countenance, to inform her companion 
that it was the will of Freya that he should depart, 
and no longer travel in their company. " You must 
have mistaken the meaning of the goddess," said the 
champion ; " Freya cannot have formed a wish so 
unreasonable, as to desire I should abandon the 
straight and good road, which leads me directly on 
my journey, to choose precipitous paths and by-roads, 
where I may break my neck."—" Nevertheless," said 
the priestess, " the goddess will be highly offended 
if you disobey her commands, nor can I conceal from 
you that she may personally assault you." — "It will 
be at her own pern if she should be so audacious," 
said the champion, " for I will try the power of this 
axe against the strength of beams and boards." 
The priestess chid him for his impiety ; but being 
unable to compel him to obey the goddess' man- 
date, they again relapsed into familiarity, which 
advanced to such a point, that a clattering noise 
within the tabernacle, as of machinery put in motion, 
intimated to the travellers that Freya, who perhaps 
had some qualities in common with the classical 
Vesta, thought a personal interruption of this tete-a- 
tete ought to be deferred no longer. The curtains 
flew open, and the massive and awkward idol, who. 
■\ve may suppose, resembled in form the giant created 
by Frankenstein, leaped lumbering from the carriage, 
and rushing on the intrusive traveller, dealt him. 
with its wooden hands and arms, such tremendous 
blows, as were equally difficult to parry or to en- 
dure. But the champion was armed with a 'double- 
edged Danish axe, with which he bestirred himself 
with so much strength and activity, that at length he 
split the head of the image, and with a severe blow 
hewed off its left leg. The image of Freya then fe ii 
motionless to the ground, and the demon which hac 
animated it, fled* yelling from the battered tenement 
The champion was now victor ; and, according t<" 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 103 

the law of arms, took possession of the female and 
the baggage. The priestess, the divinity of whose 
patroness had been, by the event of the combat, 
sorely lessened in her eyes, was now easily induced 
to become the associate and concubine of the con- 
queror. She accompanied him to the district whither 
he was travelling, and there displayed the shrine of 
*reya, taking care to hide the injuries which the 
goddess had received in the brawl. The champion 
came in for a share of a gainful trade driven by the 
priestess, besides appropriating to himself most of 
the treasures which the sanctuary had formerly con- 
tamed. Neither does it appear that Freya, having 
perhaps, a sensible recollection of the power of the 
axe, ever again ventured to appear in person for the 
purpose of calling her false stewards to account. 

Ine national estimation of deities, concerning 
whom such stories could be told and believed, was, 
ol course, of no deep or respectful character. The 
Icelanders abandoned Odin, Freya, Thor, and their 
whole pagan mythology, in consideration of a single 
disputation between the heathen priests and the 
Christian missionaries. The priests threatened the 
island with a desolating eruption of the volcano 
called Hecla, as the necessary consequence of the 
vengeance of their deities. Snorro, the same who 
advised the inquest against the ghosts, had become 
a convert to the Christian religion, and was present 
on the occasion, and as the conference was held on 
the surface of what had been a stream of lava, now 
covered with vegetable substances, he answered the 
priests with much readiness, " To what was the in- 
dignation of the gods owing, when the substance on 
which we stand was fluid and scorching 1 Believe 
me, men of Iceland, the eruption of the volcano de- 
pends on natural circumstances, now as it did then, 

a ^i 101 the en = ine of vengeance intrusted to Thor 
and Odin. ' It is evident, that men who reasoned 
with so much accuracy concerning the imbecility of 



104 LETTERS ON 

Odin and Thor, were well prepared, on abandoning 
their worship, to consider their former deities, of 
whom they believed so much that was impious, in 
the light of evil demons. 

But there were some particulars of the Northern 
creed, in which it corresponded so exactly with that 
of the classics, as leaves room to doubt whether the 
original Asae, or Asiatics, the founders of the Scan- 
dinavian system, had, before their migration from 
Asia, derived them from some common source with 
those of the Greeks and Romans ; or whether, on 
the other hand, the same proneness of the human 
mind to superstition has caused that similar ideas 
are adopted in different regions, as the same plants 
are found in distant countries, without the one, as 
far as can be discovered, having obtained the seed 
from the others. 

The classical fiction, for example, of the satyrs] 
and other subordinate deities of wood and wild, 
whose power is rather delusive than formidable, and | 
whose supernatural pranks intimate rather a wish to 
inflict terror than to do hurt, was received among 
the northern people, and perhaps transferred by them* I 
to the Celtic tribes. It is an idea which seemsie 
common to many nations. The existence of al: 
satyr, in the sylvan form, is even pretended to be 
proved by the evidence of Saint Anthony, to wifoffll 
one is said to have appeared in the deseit. The"! 
Scottish Gael have an idea of the same kind, respect-! 
ing a goblin called Ourisk, whose form is like thafl 
of Pan, and his attendants something between a man* 
and a goat, the nether extremities being in the latter* 
form. A species of cavern, or rather hole, in thefc 
rock, affords to the wildest retreat in the romantic fc 
neighbourhood of Loch Katrine, a name taken fromfc 
classical superstition. It is not the least curious i 
circumstance, that from this sylvan deity the modern I 
nations of Europe have borrowed the degrading andt 1 
unsuitable emblems of the goat's visage and form, the I 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 105 

lorns, hoofs, and tail, with which they have depicted 
he author of evil, when it pleased him to show himself 
)n earth. So that the alteration of a single word 
vould render Pope's well-known line more truly 
idapted to the fact, should we venture to read, 

"And Pan to Satan lends his heathen horn " 

We caimot attribute the transference of the attri- 
butes of the northern satyr, or Celtic ourisk, to the 
reh-fiend, to any particular resemblance between 
he character of these deities and that of Satan. On 
tie contrary, the ourisk of the Celts was a creature 
y no means peculiarly malevolent, or formidably 
owerful; but rather a melancholy spirit, which 
welt in wildernesses far removed from men. If we 
re to identify him with the Brown Dwarf of the 
lorder moors, the ourisk has a mortal term of life, 
nd a hope of salvation, as indeed the same high 
laim was made by the satyr who appeared to St. 
Jithony. Moreover, the Highland ourisk was a 
;pecies of lubber fiend, and capable of being over- 
cached by those who understood philology. It is 
elated of one of these goblins, which frequented a 
rill near the foot of Loch Lomond,- that the miller, 
esinng to get rid of tins meddling spirit, who injured 
ie machinery by setting the water on the wheel 
'hen there was no grain 1o be ground, contrived to 
ave a meeting with the goblin by watching in his 
nil till night. The ourisk then entered, and de 
landed the miller's name, and was informed that he 
T as called Myself; on which is founded a story almost 
sactly hke that of Outis in the Odyssey, a tale 
•liieh, though classic, is by no means an elegant or 
lgemous fiction, but which we are astonished to find 
i an obscure district, and in the Celtic tongue, seem- 
ig to argue some connexion or communication be- 
veen these remote Highlands of Scotland and the 
saders of Homer in former days, which we cannot 



106 LETTERS ON 

account for. After all, perhaps, some churchma: 
more learned than his brethren may have transferre, i 
the legend from Sicdy to Duncrune, from the shore j 
of the Mediterranean to those of Loch Lomond, 
have heard it also told, that the celebrated freeboote 
Rob Roy once gained a victory by disguising a pain 
of his men with goat-skins, so as to resemble thj 
ourisk, or Highland satyr. 

There was an individual, satyr called, I thinl(i 
Meming, belonging to the Scandinavian mythologj I 
of a character different from the ourisk, thougl 
similar in shape, whom it was the boast of the highl 
est champions to seek out in the solitudes which hi 
inhabited. He was an armourer of extreme dexterity! 
and the weapons which he forged were of the highest 
value. But as club-law pervaded the ancienl 
system of Scandinavia, Meming had the humour ol 
refusing to work for any customer save such as con| 
pelled him to it with force of arms. He may bed] 
perhaps, identified with the recusant smith who fleJ 
before Fingal from Ireland to the Orkneys, and bein<| 
there overtaken, was compelled to forge the sword 
which Fingal afterward wore in all his battles, an| 
which was called the Son of the dark brown LunO| 
from the naftie of the armourer who forged it.* j 

From this it will appear that there were original^ 
enough in the mythology of the Goths, as well a| 
Celts, to furnish the modern attributes ascribed t| 
Satan in later times, when the object of painter ol 
poet was to display him in his true form, and wiffl 
all his terrors. Even the genius of Guido and oij, 
Tasso have been unable to surmount this prejudice^ 
the more rooted, perhaps, that the wicked are descrii 
bed as goats in Scripture, and that the Devil is callecu 
the old dragon. In RafFael's famous painting of the 
arch-angel Michael binding Satan, the dignity, power, 

* The weapon is often mentioned in Mr. Mac Pherson's paraphrases ; 
bnt the Irish ballad, which gives a spirited account of the debate between 
the champion and the armourer, is nowhere introduced. 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 107 

Ind angelic character expressed by the seraph, form 
In extraordinary contrast to the poor conception of 
I being who ought not, even in that lowest degrada- 
'ion, to have seemed so unworthy an antagonist, 
^either has Tasso been more happy, where he re- 
presents the divan of darkness, in the enchanted 
(brest, as presided over by a monarch having a huge 
ail, hoofs, and all the usual accompaniments of popu- 
lar diablerie. The genius of Milton alone could 
liscard all these vulgar puerilities, and assign to the 
luthor of evil the terrible dignity of one who should 
teem not "less than arch-angel ruined." This 
Ipecies of degradation is yet grosser when we take 
bto consideration the changes which popular opi- 
nions have wrought respecting the taste, habits, 
lowers, modes of tempting, and habits of tormenting, 
Ihich are such as might rather be ascribed to some 
iaipid, superannuated, and doting ogre of a fairy tale, 
tail to the powerful-minded demon, who fell through 
Bride and rebellion, not through folly or incapa- 
city. 

I Having, however, adopted our present ideas of 
le Devil as they are expressed by his nearest ac- 
maintances, the witches, from the accounts of sa- 
ps, which seem to have been articles of faith both 
pong the Celtic and Gothic tribes, we must next 
btice another fruitful fountain of demonological 
;.ncies. But as this source of the mythology of the 
piddle ages must necessarily comprehend some ac- 
fount of the fairy folk, to whom much of it must 
e referred, it is necessary to make a pause before 
le enter upon the mystic and marvellous connexion 
[apposed to exist between the impenitent kingdom 
f Satan, and those merry dancers by moonlight. 



108 LETTERS ON 



LETTER IV. 



The Fairy Superstition is derived from different Sources— The classics 
Worship of the Sylvans, or rural Deities, proved by Roman Altar 
discovered— The Gothic Duergar, or Dwarfs— supposed to be denve 
from the Northern Laps, or Fins— The Niebelungen-Lied— King Lau 
rin's Adventures— Celtic Fairies of a gayer Character, yet their Plea 
sures empty and illusory— Addicted to carry off human Beings, bot 
Infants and Adults— Adventures of a Butler a in Ireland— The Elve 
supposed to pay a Tax to Hell— The Irish, Welsh, Highlanders, an 
Manxmen, held the same Belief— It was raiher rendered more gloom 
by the Northern Traditions— Merlin and Arthur carried off by th 
Fairies— also Thomas of Erceldonne— His Amour with the Queen o 
Elfland— His Re-appearance in latter Times— Another Account froi 
Reginald Scot— Conjectures on the Derivation of the word Fairy. 

We may premise by observing, that the classic 
had not forgotten to enrol in their mythology a cer 
tain species of subordinate deities, resembling th 
modern elves in their habits. Good old Mr. Gibb, o 
the Advocates' Library (whom all lawyers, whos 
youth he assisted in their studies by his knowledg 
of that noble collection, are bound to name wit 
gratitude), used to point out among the ancieri 
altars under his charge, one which is consecrated 
Diis campestribus, and usually added, with a winl 
"The Fairies, ye ken."* This relic of antiquit 
was discovered near Roxburgh Castle, and a vicinit 
more delightfully appropriate to the abode of th 
sylvan deities can hardly be found. Two rivers o 
considerable size, made yet more remarkable by th 
fame which has rendered them in some sort class: 

* Another altar of elegant form, and perfectly preserved, was, with: 
these few weeks, dug up near the junction of the Leader and the Twee 
in the neighbourhood of the village of Newstead, to the east of Melros 
It was inscribed by Carrius Doinitianus, the prefect of the twentiei 
le°ion, to the god Sylvanus, forming another instance how much tl 
wild and sylvan character of the country disj/osed the feelings of tl 
Romans to acknowledge the presence of the rural deities. The altar 
preserved at Dry-grange, the seat of Mr Tod. 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 109 

cal, unite their streams beneath the vestiges of an 
extensive castle, renowned in the wars with Eng- 
land, and for the valiant, noble, and even royal blood, 
which has been shed around and before it ;— a land- 
scape, ornamented with the distant village and hu°-e 
abbey tower of Kelso, arising out of groves of aged 
trees ;— the modern mansion of Fleurs, with its ter- 
race, its woods, and its extensive lawn, form alto- 
gether a kingdom for Oberon and Titania to reign 
in, or any spirit who, before their time, might love 
scenery of which the majesty, and even the beauty, 
impress the mmd with a sense of awe mingled with 
pleasure. These sylvans, satyrs, and fauns, with 
Whom superstition peopled the lofty banks and tan- 
ked copses of this romantic country, were obliged 
o give place to deities very nearly resembling them- 
;elves in character, who probably derive some 
)f their attributes from their classic predecessors, 
ilthough more immediately allied to the barbarian 
:onquerors ;— we allude to the fairies, which, as re- 
vived into the popular creed, and as described by 
he poets who have made use of them as machinery, 
ire certainly among the most pleasing legacies of 
ancy. 

Dr. Leyden, who exhausted on this subject, as 
tpon most others, a profusion of learning, found the 
rst idea of the Elfin people in the northern opinions 
oncerning the duergar, or dwarfs.* These were, 
owever, it must be owned, spirits of a coarser sort, 
fiore laborious vocation, and more malignant tem- 
er, and in all respects less propitious to°humanity, 
tian the fairies, properly so called, which were the 
lvention of the Celtic people, and displayed that 
uperiority of taste and fancy, which, with the love of 
msic and poetry, has been generally ascribed to their 
ice, through its various classes and modifications. 

* See the Essay on the Fairy Superstition, in the " Minstrelsy'bf the 
sottish Border," of which many of the materials were contributed by 
r. Leyden, and the whole brought into its present form by the author, 

K 



HO LETTERS ON 

In fact, there seems reason to conclude that these 
duergar were originally nothing else than the dimi- 
nutive natives of the Lappish, Lettish, and Finnish 
nations, who, flying before the conquering weapons 
of the Asae, sought the most retired regions of thel 
north, and there endeavoured to hide themselves 
from their eastern invaders. They were a little, 
diminutive race, but possessed of some skill probably j 
in mining or smelting minerals, with which the 
country abounds; perhaps also they might, from 
their acquaintance with the changes of the clouds, 
or meteorological phenomena, be judges of weather, 
and so enjoy another title to supernatural skill. At 
any rate, it has been plausibly supposed, that these 
poor people, who sought caverns and hiding-places 
from the persecution of the Asae, were in some re- 
spects compensated for inferiority in strength and- 
stature, by the art and power with which the super- 
stition of the enemy invested them. These op- 
pressed yet dreaded fugitives obtained, naturally 
enough, the character of the German spirits called! 
Kobold, from which the English Goblin and the 
Scottish Bogle, by some inversion and alteration of: 
pronunciation, are evidently derived. J 

The Kobolds were a species of gnomes, who 
haunted the dark and solitary places, and were often; 
seen in the mines, where they seemed to imitate the 
labours of the miners, and sometimes took pleasure 
in frustrating their objects, and rendering their toil 
unfruitful. Sometimes they were malignant, espe-i 
cially if neglected or insulted; but sometimes alsoi 
they were indulgent to individuals whom they tooki 
under their protection. When a miner, therefore, hit 
upon a rich vein of ore, the inference commonly was, 
not that he possessed more skill, industry, or even 
luck than his fellow- workmen, but that the spirits 
of the mine had directed him to the treasure. The 
employment and apparent occupation of these sub- 
terranean gnomes, or fiends, led very naturally to 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. Ill 

identify the Fin, or Laplander, with the Kobold ; but 
it was a bolder stretch of the imagination, which 
confounded this reserved and sullen race with the 
livelier and gayer spirit which bears correspondence 
with the British fairy. Neither can we be surprised 
that the Duergar, ascribed by many persons to this 
source, should exhibit a darker and more malignant 
character than the elves that revel by moonlight in 
more southern climates. 

According to the old Norse belief, these dwarfs 
form the current machinery of the northern Sagas, 
and their inferiority in size is represented as com- 
pensated by skill and wisdom superior to those of 
ordinary mortals. In the Niebelungen-Lied, one of 
the oldest romances of Germany, and compiled, it 
would seem, not long after the time of Attila, Theo- 
dorick of Bern, or of Verona, figures among a cycle 
of champions, over whom he presides, like the Charle- 
magne of France, or Arthur of England. Among 
others vanquished by him is the Elf King, or Dwarf 
Laurin, whose dwelling was in an enchanted garden 
of roses, and who had a body-guard of giants, a sort 
of persons seldom supposed to be themselves conju- 
rers. He becomes a formidable opponent to Theo- 
dorick and his chivalry; but as he attempted by 
treachery to attain the victory, he is, when over- 
come, condemned to fill the dishonourable yet ap- 
ipropriate office of buffoon and juggler at the court 
I of Verona.* 

Such possession of supernatural wisdom is still 
imputed, by the natives of the Orkney and Zetland 
islands, to the people called Drows, being a corrup 
tion of Duergar or dwarfs, and who may, in most 
other respects, be identified with the Caledonian 
[fairies. Lucas Jacobson Debes, who dates his de- 
scription of Feroe from his Pathmos, in Thors-haven, 

* See an abstract, by the late learned Henry Weber, of a Lay on this 
subject of King Laurin, compiled by Henry of Osterdingen. Northern 
Antiquities, Edinburgh, 1814 



112 LETTERS ON 

12th March, 1670, dedicates a long chapter to the 
spectres who disturbed his congregation, and some- 
times carried off his hearers. The actors in these; 
disturbances he states to be the Show, or Biergen- 
Trold, i. e. the spirits of the woods and mountains,, 
sometimes called subterranean people, and adds, they 
appeared in deep caverns and among horrid rocks ; 
as also, that they haunted the places where murders, 
or other deeds of mortal sin, had been acted. They 
appear to have been the genuine northern dwarfs, 
or Trows, another pronunciation of Trollds, and are, 
considered by the reverend author as something very 
little better than actual fiends. 

But it is not only, or even chiefly, to the Gothic 
race that we must trace the opinions concerning the, 
elves of the middle ages ; these, as already hinted, 
were deeply blended with the attributes which the 
Celtic tribes had, from the remotest ages, ascribed 
to their deities of rocks, valleys, and forests. We, 
have already observed, what indeed makes a great 
feature of their national character, that the power of! 
the imagination is peculiarly active among the Celts,- 
and leads to an enthusiasm concerning national; 
music and dancing, national poetry and song, the' 
departments in which fancy most readily indulges! 
herself. The Irish, the Welsh, the Gael or Scottish- 
Highlander, all tribes of Celtic descent, assigned to! 
the men of peace, good neighbours, or by whatever.! 
other names they called these sylvan pigmies, more 
social habits, and a course of existence far more gay,! 
than the sullen and heavy toils of the more satur-j 
nine Duergar. Their elves did not avoid the, 
society of men, though they behaved to those- 
who associated with them with caprice, which; 1 
rendered it dangerous to displease them; and al-' 
though their gifts were sometimes valuable, theyj 
were usually wantonly given, and unexpectedly 
resumed. 

The employment, the benefits, the amusements off 



DEM0N0L0GY AND WITCHCRAFT. 113 

the Fairy court, resembled the aerial people them- 
selves. Their government was always represented 
as monarchical. A King, more frequently a Queen, 
of Fairies, was acknowledged; and sometimes both 
held their court together. Their pageants and court 
entertainments comprehended all that the imagination 
could conceive of what was, by that age, accounted 
gallant and splendid. At their processions, they 
paraded more beautiful steeds than those of mere 
earthly parentage— the hawks and hounds which they 
employed in their chase were of the first race. At 
their daily banquets, the board was set forth with a 
splendour which the proudest kings of the earth 
dared not aspire to ; and the hall of their dancers 
echoed to the most exquisite music. But when 
dewed by the eye of a seer the illusion vanished, 
rhe young knights and beautiful ladies showed them- 
selves as wrinkled carles and odious hags — their 
vealth turned into slate-stones— their splendid plate 
nto pieces of clay fantastically twisted — and their 
actuals, unsavoured by salt (prohibited to them, we 
ire told, because an emblem of eternity), became 
asteless and insipid — the stately halls were turned 
nto miserable damp caverns — all the delights of the 
Slfin Elysium vanished at once. In a word, their 
Measures were showy, but totally unsubstantial- 
heir activity unceasing, but fruitless and unavailing 
-and their condemnation appears to have consisted 
i the necessity of maintaining the appearance of 
onstant industry or enjoyment, though their toil 
pas fruitless, and their pleasures shadowy and un- 
ubstantial. Hence poets have designed them as 

the crew that never rest." Besides the unceasing 
nd useless bustle in which these spirits seemed to 
ive, they had propensities unfavourable and distress- 
ig to mortals. 

One injury of a very serious nature was supposed 
o be constantly practised by the fairies against "the 
Luman mortals," that of carrying off their children, 
K2 



114 LETTERS ON 

and breeding them as beings of their race. Un- 
christened infants were chiefly exposed to this cala. 
mity ; but adults were also liable to be abstracted 
from earthly commerce, notwithstanding it was then 
natural sphere. With respect to the first, it may be 
easily conceived that the want of the sacred cere, 
mony of introduction into the Christian Church ren- 
dered them the more obnoxious to the power of those 
creatures, who, if not to be in all respects considered 
as fiends, had, nevertheless, considering their con- 
stant round of idle occupation, little right to rank 
themselves among good spirits, and were accounted 
by most divines as belonging to a very different class. 
An adult, on the other hand, must have been engaged ■ 
in some action which exposed him to the power of I 
the spirits, and so, as the legal phrase went, " taken [ 
in the manner." Sleeping on a Fairy mount, within j 
which the Fairy court happened to be held for thej < 
time, was a very ready mode of obtaining a passporj| f 
for Elfland. It was well for the individual if triejj 
irate elves were contented, on such occasions, witbi s 
transporting him through the air to a city at some|^ 
forty miles distance, and leaving, perhaps, his hat oijjj 
bonnet on some steeple between, to mark the direct r 
line of his course. Others, when engaged in somei r 
unlawful action, or in the act of giving way to someij 
headlong and sinful passion, exposed themselves alsol t 
to become inmates of Fairy land. 

The same belief on these points obtained in Ire-;, 
land. Glanville, in his Eighteenth Relation, tells usj, 
of the butler of a gentleman, a neighbour of the Ea 
of Orrery, who was sent to purchase cards. Inl t 
crossing the fields, he saw a table surrounded by- 
people apparently feasting and making merry. Theyj 
rose to salute him, and invited him to join in then) ; 
revel; but a friendly voice from the party whisperedi 
in his ear, " Do nothing which this company invite 1 j 
you to." Accordingly, when he refused to join in 1 
feasting, the table vanished, and the company began 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 115 

to dance, and play on musical instruments ; but the 
butler would not take part in these recreations. 
They then left off dancing, and betook themselves 
to work; but neither in this would the mortal join 
them. He was then left alone for the present ; but 
in spite of the exertions of my Lord Orrery, in 
spite of two bishops who were his guests at the 
time, in spite of the celebrated Mr. Greatrix, it was 
all they could do to prevent the butler from being 
carried off bodily from among them by the fairies, 
who considered him as their lawful prey. They 
raised him in the air above the heads of the mortals, 
who could only run beneath, to break his fall when 
they pleased to let him go. The spectre Avinch for- 
merly advised the poor man, continued to haunt him, 
and at length discovered himself to be the ghost of 
an acquaintance who had been dead for seven years. 
" You know," added he, " I lived a loose life, and 
ever since have I been hurried up and down in a 
restless condition, with the company you saw, and 
shall be till the day of judgment." He added, that 
if the butler had acknowledged God in all his ways, 
he had not suffered so much by their means ; he re- 
minded him that he had not prayed to God in the 
morning before he met with this company in the 
field, and, moreover, that he was then going on an 
unlawful business. 

It is pretended that Lord Orrery confirmed the 
whole of this story, even to having seen the butler 
raised into the air by the invisible beings who strove 
to carry him off. Only he did not bear witness to 
the passage which seems to call the purchase of cards 
an unlawful errand.* 

Individuals whose lives have been engaged in 
intrigues of politics or stratagems of war were 
sometimes surreptitiously carried off to Fairy land 
as Alison Pearson, the sorceress who cured Arch- 

* Sadducismus Triumphatus, by Joseph Glanville. Edinburgh, 
1700, p. 131. 6 ' 



116 LETTERS ON 

bishop Adamson, averred that she had recognised 
in the Fairy court the celebrated Secretary Lething- 
ton, and the old Knight of Buccleuch, the one of 
whom had been the most busy politician, the other 
one of the most unwearied partisans of Queen Mary, 
during the reign of that unfortunate Queen. Upon 
the whole, persons carried off by sudden death were 
usually suspected of having fallen into the hands of 
fairies, and unless redeemed from their power, which 
it was not always safe to attempt, were doomed to 
conclude their lives with them. We must not omit 
to state, that those who had an intimate communica- 
tion with these spirits, while they were yet inhabit- 
ants of middle earth, were most apt to be seized 
upon and carried off to Elrland before their death. 

The reason assigned for this kidnapping of the hu- 
man race, so peculiar to the elfin people, is said to be 
that they weie under a necessity of paying to the infer- 
nal regions a yearly tribute out of their population, 
which they were willing to defray by delivering up to 
the prince of these regions the children of the human 
race, rather than their own. From this it must be 
inferred, that they have offspring among themselves, 
as it is said by some authorities, and particularly by 
Mr. Kirke, the minister of Aberfoyle. He indeed 
adds, that, after a certain length of life, these spirits 
are subject to the universal lot of mortality, — a 
position, however, which has been controverted, and 
is scarcely reconcilable to that which holds them 
amenable to pay a tax to hell, which infers exist- 
ence as eternal as the fire which is not quenched. 
The opinions on the subject of the fairy people here 
expressed, are such as are entertained in the High- 
lands, and some remote quarters of the Lowlands, 
of Scotland. We know, from the lively and enter- 
taining legends published by Mr. Crofton Croker — 
which, though in most cases told with the wit of 
the editor and the humour of his country, contain 
points of curious antiquarian information — that the 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 117 

opinions of the Irish are conformable to the account 
I we have given of the general creed of the Celtic 
[nations repecting elves. If the Irish elves are any- 
wise distinguished from those of Britain, it seems 
I to be by their disposition to divide into factions, and 
J fight among themselves— a pugnacity characteristic 
[of the Green Isle. The Welsh fairies, according to 
John Lewis, barrister-at-law, agree in the same 
[general attributes with those of Ireland and Britain, 
I We must not omit the creed of the Manxmen, since 
we find, from the ingenious researches of Mr. Wal- 
dron, that the Isle of Man, beyond other places in 
Britain, was a peculiar depository of the fairy tradi- 
tions, which, on the island being conquered by the 
Worse, became in all probability checkered with 
those of Scandinavia, from a source peculiar and 
pore direct than that by which they reached Scot- 
Hand or Ireland. 

i Such as it was, the popular system of the Celts 
I easily received the northern admixture of Drows 
iand Duergar, which gave the belief, perhaps, a 
ltdarker colouring than originally belonged to the 
^British Fairy land. It was from the same source also, 
in all probability, that additional legends were ob- 
tained, of a gigantic and malignant female, the 
(Hecate of this mythology, who rode on the storm, 
and marshalled the rambling host of wanderers under 
fher grim banner. This hag (in all respects the 
[reverse of the Mab or Titania of the Celtic creed), 
^was called Nicneven, in that latter system which 
[blended the faith of the Celts and of the Goths on this 
(subject. The great Scottish poet Dunbar has made 
la spirited description of this Hecate riding at the 
(head of witches and go.od neighbours (fairies, 
(namely), sorceresses and elves, indifferently, upon 
tthe ghostly eve of All-Hallow Mass.* In Italy we 
•hear of the hags arraying themselves under the orders 

* See Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy. 



118 LETTERS ON 

of Diana (in her triple character of Hecate, doubt- 
less), and Herodias, who were the joint leaders of 
their choir. But we return to the more simple fairy 
belief, as entertained by the Celts before they were 
conquered by the Saxons. 

Of these early times we can know little ; but it is 
singular to remark what light the traditions of Scot- 
land throw upon the poetry of the Britons of Cum- 
berland, then called Reged. Merlin Wyllt, or the 
wild, is mentioned by both; and that renowned 
wizard the son of an elf, or fairy, with King Arthur, 
the dubious champion of Britain at that early period, 
were both said by tradition to have been abstracted 
by the fairies, and to have vanished, without having 
suffered death, just at the time when it was sup- ' 
posed, that the magic of the wizard, and the cele- n 
brated sword of the monarch, which had done so; I 
much to preserve British independence, could no i 
longer avert the impending ruin. It may be con- 
jectured that there was a desire on the part of ! 1 
Arthur, or his surviving champions, to conceal his J 
having received a mortal wound in the fatal battle | ! 
of Camlan ; and to that we owe the wild and beau- ' i 
tiful incident so finely versified by Bishop Percy, in 1 1 
which, in token of his renouncing in future the use ! i 
of arms, the monarch sends his attendant, sole sur- ; i 
viver of the field, to throw his sword, Excalibar, into 
the lake hard by. Twice eluding the request, the 
esquire at last complied, and threw the far-famed 
weapon into the lonely meer. A hand and arm arose 
from the water and caught Excalibar by the hilt, 
flourished it thrice, and then sank into the lake.* 
The astonished messenger returned to his master to 
tell him of the marvels he had seen, but he only saw 
a boat at a distance push from the land, and heard 
shrieks of females in agony : — 

* See Percy's Relics of Ancient English Poetry. 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 119 

" And whether the King was there or not 

He never knew, he never colde, 
For never since that doleful day 
Was British Arthur seen on molde." 

The circumstances attending the disappearance of 
Merlin would probably be found as imaginative as 
those of Arthur's removal, but they cannot be reco- 
vered; and, what is singular enough, circumstances 
which originally belonged to the history of this 
famous bard, said to be the son of the Demon himself, 
have been transferred to a later poet, and surely one 
of scarce inferior name, Thomas of Erceldoune. The 
Legend was supposed to be only preserved among 
the inhabitants of his native valleys, but a copy as 
aid as the reign of Henry VII. has been recovered. 
The story is interesting and beautifully told, and, as 
one of the oldest fairy legends, may well be quoted 
in this place. 

Thomas of Erceldoune, in Lauderdale, called the 
Rhymer, on account of his producing a poetical 
romance on the subject of Tristrem and Yseult, 
which is curious as the earliest specimen of English 
verse known to exist, flourished in the reign of Alex- 
ander III. of Scotland. Like other men of talent of 
the period, Thomas was suspected of magic. He 
was said also to have the gift of prophecy, which 
was accounted for in the following peculiar manner, 
referring entirely to the Elfin superstition. As True 
Thomas (we give him the epithet by anticipation) 
lay on Huntley bank, a place on the descent of the 
Eildon hills, which raise their triple crest above the 
celebrated monastery of Melrose, he saw a lady so 
extremely beautiful that he imagined it must be the 
Virgin Mary herself. Her appointments, however, 
were those rather of an Amazon or goddess of the 
woods. Her steed was of the highest beauty and 
spirit, and at his mane hung thirty silver bells and 
nine, which made music to the wind as she paced 
along: her saddle was of royal bone (ivory), laid 



120 LETTERS ON 

over with orfeverie, i. e. goldsmith's work : her stir- 
raps, her dress, all corresponded with her extreme l 
beauty and the magnificence of her array. The fair i 
huntress had her bow in hand, and her arrows at j 
her belt. She led three greyhounds in a leash, and I 
three raches, or hounds of scent, followed her closely. 1 
She rejected and disclaimed the homage which | 
Thomas desired to pay to her; so that, passin° | 
from one extremity to the other, Thomas became as J 
bold as he had at first been humble. The lady warns 
him that he must become her slave, if he' should 
prosecute his suit towards her in the manner he pro- 
poses. Before their interview terminates, the appear- 
ance of the beautiful lady is changed into that of the 
most hideous hag in existence ; one side is blighted 
and wasted, as if by palsy ; one eye drops from her 
head ; her colour, as clear as the virgin silver, is now 
of a dun leaden hue. A witch from the spital or 
almshouse would have been a goddess in comparison 
to the late beautiful huntress. Hideous as she was, 
Thomas's irregular desires had placed him under the 
control of this hag, and when she bade him take 
leave of sun, and of the leaf that grew on treej he felt 
himself under the necessity of obeying her. A ca- 
vern received them, in which, following his frightful 
guide, he for three, days travelled in darkness, some- 
times hearing the booming of a distant ocean, some- . 
times walking through rivers of blood, which crossed I 
their subterranean path. At length, they emerged i ; 
into daylight, in a most beautiful orchard. Thomas, I 
almost fainting for want of food, stretches out his I 
hand towards the goodly fruit which hang's around 1 
him, but is forbidden by his conductress, who informs I 
him these are the fatal apples which were the cause I 
of the fall of man. He perceives also that his guide 
bad no sooner entered this mysterious ground^ and i 
breathed its magic air, than she was revived in beauty, J 
equipage, and splendour, as fair or fairer than he had 
first seen her on the mountain. She then commands I 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 121 

iim to lay his head upon her knee, and proceeds to 
explain to him the character of the country. " Yon- 
ler right-hand path," she says, " conveys the spirits 
)f the bless'd to paradise ; yon downward and well- 
born way leads sinful souls to the place of ever- 
asting punishment ; the third road, by yonder dark 
irake, conducts to the milder place of pain, from 
vhich prayer and mass may release offenders. But 
lee you yet a fourth road, sweeping along the plain 
o yonder splendid castle 1 yonder is the road to 
Slfland, to which we are now bound. The lord of 
he castle is king of the country, and I am his queen. 
pit, Thomas, I would rather be drawn with wild 
torses, than he should know what hath passed be- 
ween you and me. Therefore, when we enter 
fonder castle, observe strict silence, and answer no 
oiestion that is asked at you, and I will account for 
'our silence by saying I took your speech when I 
Tought you from middle earth." 

Having thus instructed her lover, they journeyed 
m to the castle, and entering by the kitchen, found 
hemselves in the midst of such a festive scene as 
night become the mansion of a great feudal lord or 
rince. Thirty carcasses of deer were lying on the 
lassive kitchen board, under the hands of numerous 
ooks, who toiled to cut them up and dress them, 
mile the gigantic greyhounds which had taken the 
poil lay lapping the blood, and enjoying the sight of 
fie slain game. They came next to the royal hall, 
mere the king received his loving consort without 
ensure or suspicion. Knights and ladies, dancing 
y threes (reels, perhaps), occupied the floor of the 
all, and Thomas, the fatigues of his journey from 
re Eildon hills forgotten, went forward and joined 
i the revelry. After a period, however, which 
eemed to him a very short one, the queen spoke with 
im apart, and bade him prepare to return to his own 
ountry. " Now," said the queen, " how long think 
ou that you have been here ]"— " Certes, fair lady," 
Li 



123 LETTERS ON 

answered Thomas, " not above these seven days. w - 
" You are deceived," answered the queen, " youhav, 
been seven years in this castle ; and it is full time yo 
were gone. Know, Thomas, that the fiend of he'.J 
will come to this castle to-morrow to demand his tri 
bute, and so handsome a man as you will attract hi| 
eye. For all the world would I not suffer you to be be 
trayed to such a fate ; therefore up, and let us b 
going." These terrible news reconciled Thomas t| 
his departure from Elfin land, and the queen was no 
long in placing him upon Huntly bank, where th 
birds were singing. She took a tender leave of hirrj 
and to ensure his reputation, bestowed on him th; 
tongue which could not lie. Thomas in vain objected 
to this inconvenient and involuntary adhesion to ve, 
racity, which would make him, as he thought, unfi 
for church or for market, for king's court or for lady' 1 
bower. But all his remonstrances were disregarded 
by the lady, and Thomas the Rhymer, whenever th] 
discourse turned on the future, gained the credit o> 
a prophet whether he would or not ; for he could sa; 
nothing but what was sure to come to pass. It i| 
plain, that had Thomas been a legislator instead O; 
a poet, we have here the story of Numa and Egeria 
Thomas remained several years in his own towe; 
near Erceldoune, and enjoyed the fame of his pre! 
dictions, several of which are current among th« 
country people to this day. At length, as the pro 
phet was entertaining the Earl of March in hi, ( 
dwelling, a cry of astonishment arose in the village 
on the appearance of a hart and hind,* which lef 
the forest, and, contrary to their shy nature, camt 
quietly onward, traversing the village towards th< 
dwelling of Thomas. The prophet instantly ros< 
from the board ; and, acknowledging the prodigy a: 
the summons of his fate, he accompanied the har 1 

* This last circumstance seems imitated from a passage in the Lifi 
of Me.lin, by Jeffrey of Monmruth. See Elliu's Ancient Romances 
vol. i. p. 73. 



DEMONOLOGV AND WITCHCRAFT. 123 

jtend hind into the forest, and though occasionally 
Useen by individuals to whom he has chosen to show 
(himself, has never again mixed familiarly with 
(mankind. 

j* Thomas of Erceldoune, during his retirement, 
pas been supposed, from time to time, to be levying 
forces to take the field in some crisis of his country's 
ffate. The story has often been told, of a daring 
(horse-jockey having sold a black horse to a man of 
Ivenerable and antique appearance, who appointed 
the remarkable hillock upon Eildon hills, called the 
fLucken hare, as the place where, at twelve o'clock 
P night, he should receive the price. He came, 
ftiis money was paid in ancient coin, and he was in- 
cited by his customer to view his residence. The 
trader in horses followed his guide in the deepest 
Astonishment through several long ranges of stalls, 
n each of which a horse stood motionless, while an 
irmed warrior lay equally still at the charger's feet. 
' All these men," said the wizard, in a whisper, 
will awaken at the battle of Sheriffmoor." At 
.he extremity of this extraordinary depot hung a 
iword and a horn, which the prophet pointed out to 
he horse-dealer as containing the means of dis- 
solving the spell. The man in confusion took the 
lorn, and attempted to wind it. The horses instantly 
•tarted in their stalls, stamped, and shook their bri- 
Ues, the men arose and clashed their armour, and 
he mortal, terrified at the tumult he had excited, 
hopped the horn from his hand. A voice like that 
if a giant, louder even than the tumult around, pro- 
tounced these words : — 



1 Wo to the coward tliat ever he was bom, 
That did not draw the sword before he blew the horn '." 



I whirlwind expelled the horse-dealer from the ca- 
•ern, the entrance to which he could never again 
ind. A moral might be perhaps extracted from the 
egend, — namely, that it is best to be armed against 



124 LETTERS ON 

danger before bidding it defiance. But it is a circivm 
stance worth notice, that although this edition oil 
the tale is limited to the year 1715, by the very men ( ;. : 
tion of the Sheriffmoor, yet a similar story appear 
to have been current during the reign of Quee;,; 
Elizabeth, which is given by Reginald Scot. Th, 
narrative is edifying, as peculiarly illustrative of th 
mode of marring a curious tale in telling it, whic.j 
was one of the virtues professed by Caius whe:j 
he hireji himself to King Lear. Reginald Scot, in 
credulous on the subject of witchcraft, seems to hav f 
given some weight to the belief of those who though 
that the spirits of famous men do, after death, tak* 
up some particular habitations near cities, town^ 
and countries, and act as tutelary and guardia^ 
spirits to the places which they loved while in tbj 
flesh. I 

"But more particularly to illustrate this conjec| 
ture," says he, " I could name a person who hatll 
lately appeared thrice since his decease, at least 
some ghostly being or other that calls itself by thl 
name of such a person, who was dead above a hun| 
dred years ago, and was, in his lifetime, accounted 
as a prophet or predictor, by the assistance of sub| 
lunary spirits ; and now, at his appearance, did alsu 
give strange predictions respecting famine and plenty 
war and bloodshed, and the end of the world. B3! 
the information of the person that had communijj 
cation with him, the last of his appearances was § 
the following manner. " I had been," said he, '?■ 
sell a horse at the next market town, but not attaining 
my price, as I returned home, by the way I met th|[ 
man, who began to be familiar with me, asking whal 
news, and how affairs moved through the country 
I answered as I thought fit ; withal, I told him of mil 
horse, whom he began to cheapen, and proceedec 
with me so far, that the price was agreed upon. Sc;J 
he turned back with me, and told me that if I woulcn 
go along with him, I should receive my money. |( 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 125 

)n our way we went, I upon my horse, and he on ano- 
ther milk-white beast. After much travel, I askedhim 
where he dwelt, and what his name was ? He told me 
that his dwelling was a mile off at a place called Far- 
ran, of which place I had never heard, though I knew 
all the country round about.* He also told me 
that he himself was that person of the family of 
Learmonths,t so much spoken of as a prophet. At 
which I began to be somewhat fearful, perceiving 
m were on a road which I never had been on be- 
fore, which increased my fear and amazement more. 
Well ! on we went till he brought me under ground, 
t knew not how, into the presence of a beautiful wo- 
jnan, who paid the money without a word speaking. 
Ie conducted me out again through a large and long 
mtry, where I saw above six hundred men in ar- 
hour laid prostrate on the ground, as if asleep. At 
ast I found myself in the open field, by the help of 
he moonlight, in the very place where I first met 
dm, and made a shift to get home by three in the 
norning. But the money I had received was just 
:ouble of what I esteemed it when the woman paid 
tie, of which, at this instant, I have several pieces 
o show, consisting of ninepennies, thirteen-pence- 
alfpennies," &c.J 

It is a great pity that this horse-dealer, having 
pecimens of the fairy coin, of a quality more per- 
lanent than usual, had not favoured us with an ac- 
ount of an impress so valuable to medallists. It is 
ot the less edifying, as we are deprived of the more 
icturesque parts of the story, to learn that Thomas's 
ayment was as faithful as his prophecies. The 

* In this the author is m the same ignorance as his namesake Reei- 
ild, though havmg at least as many opportunities of information 
T In popular tradition, the name 01 Thomas the Rhymer was always 
' e i re ^° e Learm0I »n- though he neither uses it himself, nor is de- 
nted by his son other than Le Rymour. The Learmonths of Dairsie. 
I ife, claimed descent from the prophet. 

i .Discourse of Devils and Spirits appended to the Discovery of 
r itcncraft, by Reginald Scot, Esq., hook iii. chap, ii, « 19. 

L2 



126 LETTERS ON 

beautiful lady who bore the purse must have been 
undoubtedly the Fairy Queen, whose affection 
though, like that of his own heroine Yseult, wt 
cannot term it altogether laudable, seems yet tc 
have borne a faithful and firm character. 

I have dwelt at some length on the story of 
Thomas the Rhymer, as the oldest tradition of tlu 
kind which has reached us in detail, and as pretend, 
ing to show the fate of the first Scottish poet, whosf 
existence, and its date, are established both by his- 
tory and records ; and who, if we consider him as 
writing in the Anglo-Norman language, was cer 
tainly one among the earliest of its versifiers. Bu 
the legend is still more curious, from its being th( 
first, and most distinguished instance, of a mar 
alleged to have obtained supernatural knowledge b} 
means of the fairies. 

Whence or how this singular community derive, 
their more common popular name, we may say ha; 
not as yet been very clearly established. It is th< 
opinion of the learned, that the Persian word Peri 
expressing an unearthly being, of a species verj 
similar, will afford the best derivation, if we suppost 
it to have reached Europe through the medium ol 
the Arabians, in whose alphabet the letter P doe: 
not exist, so that they pronounce the word Feri in 
stead of Peri. Still there is something uncertain h 
this etymology. We hesitate to ascribe, either t( 
the Persians or the Arabians, the distinguishing 
name of an ideal commonwealth, the notion of whicl 
they certainly did not contribute to us. Some are 
therefore, tempted to suppose, that the elves maj 
have obtained their most frequent name from thei: 
being, par excellence, a fair or comely people, a qua 
lity which they affected on all occasions ; while th( 
superstition of the Scottish was likely enough t( 
give them a name which might propitiate the vanitj 
for which they deemed the race remarkable ; jus 
as, in other instances, they called the fays "mer 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 127 

of peace," " good neighbours," and by other titles 
of the like import. It must be owned, at the same 
time, that the words fay and fairy may have been 
mere adoptions of the French/ee and f eerie, though 
these terms, on the other side of the Channel, have 
reference to a class of spirits corresponding, not to 
our fairies, but with the far different Fata of the 
Italians. But this is a question which we willingly 
leave for the decision of better etymologists than 
ourselves. 



LETTER V. 

Those who dealt in Fortune-telling, Mystical Cures by Charms, and the 
like, often claimed an Intercourse with Fairy Land— Hudhart or 
Hudikin— Pitcairn's Scottisli Criminal Trials — Story of Bessie Dun- 
lop and her Adviser— Her Practice of Medicine— and of Discovery of 
Theft— Account of her Familiar, Thome Reid— Trial of Alison 
Pearson— Account of her Familiar, William Sympson— Trial of the 
Lady Fowlis, and of Hector Munro, her step-son— Extraordinary 
Species of Charm used by the latter— Confession of John Stewart, a 
■ Juggler, of his Intercourse with the Fairies— Trial and Confession 
of Isobel Gowdie— Use of Elf-arrow Heads— Parish of Aberfoyle— 
Mr. Kirke, the Minister of Aberfoyle's Work on Fairy Superstitions 
—He is himself taken to Fairyland— Dr. Graham'e's interesting 
f Work, and his Information on Fairy Superstitions — Story of a 
i Female in East Lothian carried off by the Fairies— Another Instance 
from Pennant 

To return to Thomas the Rhymer, with an ac- 
count of whose legend I concluded the last letter, it 
would seem, that the example which it afforded of 
obtaining the gift "of prescience, and other super- 
natural powers, by means of the fairy people, be- 
came the common apology of those who attempted 
to cure diseases, to tell fortunes, to revenge injuries, 
I or to engage in traffic with the invisible world, for 
! the purpose of satisfying their own wishes, curiosity, 
t or revenge, or those of others. Those who prac- 
tised the petty arts of deception in such mystic 



128 LETTERS ON 

cases, being naturally desirous to screen their own 
impostures, were willing to be supposed to derive 
from the fairies, or from mortals transported to fairy- 
land, the power necessary to effect the displays of 
art which they pretended to exhibit. A confession 
of direct communication and league with Satan, 
though the accused were too frequently compelled 
by torture to admit and avow such horrors, might, 
the poor wretches hoped, be avoided, by the avowal 
of a less disgusting intercourse with sublunary 
spirits, a race which might be described by nega- 
tives, being neither angels, devils, nor the souls of 
deceased men; nor would it, thev might flatter 
themselves, be considered as any criminal alliance, 
that they held communion with a race not properly 
hostile to man, and willing, on certain conditions, 
to be useful and friendly to him. Such an inter- 
course was certainly far short of the witch's re- 
nouncing her salvation, delivering herself personally 
to the devil, and at once ensuring condemnation in | 
this world, together with the like doom in the next. 
Accordingly, the credulous, who, in search of 
health, knowledge, greatness, or moved by any of 
the numberless causes for which men seek to look 
into futurity, were anxious to obtain superhuman 
assistance, as well as the numbers who had it in 
view to dupe such willing clients, became, both 
cheated and cheaters, alike anxious to establish the 
possibility of a harmless process of research into 
futurity, for laudable or at least innocent objects, 
as healing diseases, and the like ; in short, of the 
existence of white magic, as it was called, in op- 
position to that black art exclusively and directly 
derived from intercourse with Satan. Some endea- 
voured to predict a man's fortune in marriage, or his 
success in life, by the aspect of the stars ; others 
pretended to possess spells, by which they could 
reduce and compel an elementary spirit to enter 
within a stone, a looking-glass, or some other local 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 129 

)lace of abode, and confine her there by the power 

)f an especial charm, conjuring her to abide and 
•answer the questions of her master. Of these we 

shall afterward say something ; but the species of 
i wasion now under our investigation is that of the 
i fanatics or impostors, who pretended to draw in- 
formation from the equivocal spirits called fairies ; 
:ind the number of instances before us is so great as 
Induces us to believe, that the pretence of commu- 
nicating with Elfland, and not with the actual de- 
fcnon, was the manner in which the persons accused 
! }f witchcraft most frequently endeavoured to excuse 
themselves, or at least to alleviate the charges 
mought against them of practising sorcery. But 
i;he Scottish law did not acquit those who accom- 
plished even praiseworthy actions, such as remark- 
able cures, by mysterious remedies ; and the pro- 
prietor of a patent medicine, who should in those 
days have attested his having wrought such miracles 
Is we see sometimes advertised, might perhaps have 
.brfeited his life before he established the reputation 
l)f his drop, elixir, or pill. 

jj Sometimes the soothsayers, who pretended to act 
im this information from sublunary spirits, soared 

o higher matters than the practice of physic, and 
nterfered in the fate of nations. When James the 
First was murdered at Perth, in 1437, a Highland 
voman prophesied the course and purpose of the 
'onspiracy, and had she been listened to, it might 
have been disconcerted. Being asked her source of 
uiowledge, she answered, Hudhart had told her; 
vhich might either be the same with Hudikin, a 
patch spirit somewhat similar to Friar Rush, or 
^obin Goodfellow,* or with the red-capped demon 

* " Hudkin is a very familiar devil, who will do nobody hurt, except 
le receive injury ; but he cannot abide that, nor yet be mocked. He 
alketh with men friendly, sometimes visibly, sometimes invisibly. 
There go as many tales upon this Hudkin in some parts of Germany, aa 
here did in England on Robin Goodfellow. — Discourse concerning' 
Devils, annexed to The Discovery of Witchcraft, by Reginald Scot, 
•ook i. chap. xxs. 



130 LETTERS. ON 

so powerful in the case of Lord Soulis, and other 
wizards, to whom the Scots assigned rather more 
serious influence. 

The most special account which I have found of 
the intercourse between fairyland and a female pro- 
fessing to have some influence in that court, com- 
bined with a strong desire to be useful to the distressed 
of both sexes, occurs in the early part of a work tc 
which I have been exceedingly obliged in the present 
and other publications.* The details of the evidence,, 
which consists chiefly of the unfortunate woman's 
own confession, are more full than usual, and com-, 
prehend some curious particulars. To spare techni-i 
cal repetitions, I must endeavour to select the princi-. 
pal facts in evidence in detail so far as they bear upon 
the present subject. 

On the 8th November, 1576, Elizabeth or Bessie 
Dunlop, spouse to Andro Jak, in Lyne, in the Barony 
of Dairy, Ayrshire, was accused of sorcery and 
witchcraft, and abuse of the people. Her answers 
to the interrogatories of the judges or prosecutors ran 
thus. It being required of her, by what art she could, 
tell of lost goods, or prophesy the event of illness 1 
she replied, that of herself she had no knowledge or, 
science of such matters, but that when questions 
were asked at her concerning such matters, she wasJ; 
in the habit of applying to one Thome Reid, win 
died at the battle of Pinkie (10th September, I547)jt| 
as he himself affirmed, and who resolved her anyi 
questions which she asked at him. This person sheji 
described as a respectable, elderly-looking man, gray-fr 
bearded, and wearing a gray coat, with Lombard^ 
sleeves, of the auld fashion. A pair of gray breeches| 
and white stockings gartered above the knee, a blacky 
bonnet on his head, close behind and plain before,^ 

I 

* The curious collection of Trials, from the Criminal Records of Scot- v 
land, now in the course of publication, by Robert Pitcairn, Esq. affords j!l 
so singular a picture of the manners and habits of our ancestors, I 
while yet a semibarbarous people, that it is equally worth the at'ention | 
of the historian, the antiquary, the philosopher, and the poet. 



DEM0N0L0GY AND WITCHCRAFT. 131 

.vith silken laces drawn through the lips thereof, and 
i white wand in his hand, completed the description 
if what we may suppose a respectable-looking man 
)f the province and period. Being demanded concern- 
ng her first interview with this mysterious Thome 
leid, she gave rather an affecting account of the dis- 
isters with which she was then afflicted, and a sense 
tf which perhaps aided to conjure up the imaginary 
ounsellor. She was walking between her own 
;ouse and the yard of Monkcastle, driving her cows 

the common pasture, and making heavy moan with 
.erself, weeping bitterly for her cow that was dead, 
er husband and child that was sick of the land-ill 
some contagious sickness of the time), while she 
lerself was in a very infirm state, having lately borne 

1 child. On this occasion, she met Thome Reid for 
pe first time, who saluted her courteously, which she 
[-turned. " Sancta Maria, Bessie !" said the appari- 
kon ; " why must thou make such dole and weeping 
br any earthly thing'?"— "Have I not reason for 
Teat sorrow," said she, " since our property is going 
id destruction, my husband is on the point of death, 
by baby will not live, and I am myself at a weak 
oint 1 Have I not cause to have a sore heart ?" — 
f Bessie," answered the spirit, " thou hast displeased 
rJod in asking something that thou should not, and I 
ounsel you to amend your fault. I tell thee, thy 
hild shall die ere thou get home ; thy two sheep shall 
lso die, but thy husband shall recover, and be as well 
bd feir as ever he was." The good woman was 
'omething comforted to hear that her husband was 
b be spared in such her general calamity, but was 
lather alarmed to see her ghostly counsellor pass from 
ier, and disappear through a hole in the garden wall, 
eemingly too narrow to admit of any living person 
assing though it. Another time he met her at the 
"horn of Dawmstarnik, and showed his ultimate 
urpose, by offering her plenty of every thing if sh« 
v'ould but deny Christendom, and the faith she took 



132 LETTERS ON 

at the font-stone. She answered, that rather than dc 
that she would be torn at horses' heels, but that shd 
would be conformable to his advice in less matters 
He parted with her in some displeasure. Shortly 
afterward he appeared in her own house, about noon 
which was at the time occupied by her husband and 
three tailors. But neither Andro Jak nor the three 
tailors were sensible of the presence of the phantorri 
warrior who was slain at Pinkie ; so that without at- 
tracting their observation, he led out the goodwife tci 
the end of the house near the kiln. Here he showec 
her a company of eight women and four men. The 
women were busked in their plaids, and very seemly; 
The strangers saluted her, and said, " Welcome: 
Bessie; wilt thou go with us]" But Bessie was 
silent, as Thome Reid had previously recommended,' 
After this she saw their lips move, but did not under-; 
stand what they said ; and in a short time they re-i 
moved from thence with a hideous ugly howling! 
sound, like that of a hurricane. Thome Reid theri 
acquainted her that these were the good wights (fai-t 
ries) dwelling in the court of Elfland, who came tc 
invite her to go thither with them. Bessie answered( 
that before she went that road, it would require somd 
consideration. Thome answered, "Seest thou noi 
me both meat worth, clothes worth, and well enougn 
in person?" and engage she should be easier than 
ever she was. But, she replied, she dwelt with hen 
husband and children, and would not leave them ; to 
which Thome Reid replied, in very ill-humour,- thai 
if such were her sentiments, she would get little 
good of him. 

Although they thus diasgreed on the principal object 
of Thome Reid's visits, Bessie Dunlop affirmed he 
continued to come to her frequently, and assist heij 
with his counsel ; and that if any one consulted hei 
about the ailments of human beings or of cattle, oij 
the recovery of things lost or stolen, she was, by the; 
advice of Thome Reid, always able to answer the; 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 133 

•i querists. She was also taught by her (literally ghostly) 
■1 adviser, how to watch the operation of the ointments 
i i g ? Ve , h f ' and t0 P resa ?e from them the recovery or 
; death of the patient. She said that Thome gave her 
-i herbs with his own hand, with which she cured John 
j Jacks bairn and Wilson's of the Townhead. She 
tilso was helpful to a waiting-woman of the youno- 
I Lady Stanhe, daughter of the Lady Johnstone, whose 
jhsease, according to the opinion of the infallible 
U home Reid, was "a cauld blood that came about 
ner heart, and frequently caused her to swoon away. 
U°i r ? J?°™ e mi * ed a remedy as generous as the 
I lata of Gilead itself. It was composed of the most 
potent ale, concocted with spices and a little white 
4 ; ugar, to be drunk every morning before taking food. 
«<or these prescriptions Bessie Dunlop's fee was a 
Peck of meal and some cheese. The youn^ woman 
f ecovered But the poor old Lady Kilbowie could 
fret no help for her leg, which had been crooked for 
tears; for Thome Reid said the marrow of the limb 
Was perished and the blood benumbed, so that she 
mom never recover, and if she sought farther assist- 
ance, it would be the worse for her. These opinions 
ndicate common sense and prudence at least, whether 
We consider them as originating with the umquhile 
hhome Reid, or with the culprit whom he patronised 
'he judgments given in the case of stolen <r 00 ds 
/ere also well chosen ; for thouffh they seldom led 
) recovering the property, they generally alleged 
ijch satisfactory- reasons for its not beinff foundf as 
lectually to cover the credit of the prophetess. Thus 
ugh Scott's cloak could not be returned, because 
ie thieves had gained time to make it into a kirtle 

femes Jamiesonand James Bairdwould, by heradvice' 
ive recovered their plough-irons which had been 
olen had it not been the will of fate that William 
«ugal, sheriff's officer, one of the parties searching- 
r them, should accept a bribe of three pounds not 
nnd them. In short, although she lost a lace which 
M 



134 LETTERS ON 

Thome Reid gave her out of his own hand, which, 
tied round women in childbirth, had the power of 
helping their delivery, Bessie Dunlop's profession of 
a wise woman seems to have flourished indifferently! 
well till it drew the evil eye of the law upon her. 

More minutely pressed upon the subject of hei 
familiar, she said she had never known him while 
among the living, but was aware that the person so 
calling himself was one who had, in his lifetime, ac- 
tually been known in middle earth as Thome Reid, 
officer to the Laird of Blair, and who died at Pinkie. 
Of this she was made certain, because he sent her on 
errands to his son, who had succeeded in his office, 
and to others, his relatives, whom he named, and 
commanded them to amend certain trespasses which 
he had done while alive, furnishing her with sure 
tokens by which they should know that it was he 
who had sent her. One of these errands was some- 
what remarkable. She was to remind a neighbour 
of some particular which she was to recall to his 
memory by the token, that Thome Reid and he had 
set out together to go to the battle which took place 
on the Black Saturday ; that the person to whom the 
message was sent, was inclined rather to move in a 
different direction, but that Thome Reid heartened 
him to pursue his journey, and brought him to the 
Kirk of Dairy, where he bought a parcel of figs, and 
made a present of them to his companion, tying them 
in his handkerchief; after which they kept company 
till they came to the field upon the fatal Black 
Saturday, as the battle of Pinkie was long called. 

Of Thome's other habits, she said that he always 
behaved with the strictest propriety, only that he 
pressed her to go to Elfland with him, and took hold 
of her apron as if to pull her along. Again, she said 
she had seen him in public places, both in the church- 
yard at Dairy, and on the street of Edinburgh, where 
he walked about among other people, and handled 
goods that were exposed to sale, without attracting 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 135 



any notice. She herself did not then speak to him ; 
for it was his command that, upon such occasions, 
she should never address him, unless he spoke first 
to her. In his theological opinions, Mr. Reid ap- 
peared to lean to the Church of Rome, which, indeed, 
was most indulgent to the fairy folk. He said that 
the new law, i. e. the Reformation, was not good, and 
that the old faith should return again, but not exactly 
. as it had been before. Being questioned why this 
i visionary sage attached himself to her more than 
to others, the accused person replied, that when she 
was confined in childbirth of one of her boys, a stout 
■ woman came into her hut, and sat down on a bench 
1 by her bed, like a mere earthly gossip ; that she de- 
manded a drink, and was accommodated accordingly; 
and thereafter told the invalid that the child should 
1 die, but that her husband, who was then ailing, should 
recover. This visit seems to have been previous to 
her meeting Thome Reid near Monkcastle garden, 
for that worthy explained to her that her stout 
visitant was Queen of Fairies, and that he had since 
attended her by the express command of that lady, 
his queen and mistress. This reminds us of the ex- 
treme doting attachment which the Queen of the 
Fairies is represented to have taken for Dapper, in 
the Alchymist. Thome Reid attended her, it would 
j seem, on being summoned thrice, and appeared to 
I her very often within four years. He often requested 
i her to go with him on his return to fairyland, and 
•when she refused, he shook his head, and said she 
! would repent it. 

If the delicacy of the reader's imagination be a 
| little hurt at imagining the elegant Titania in the 
- disguise of a stout woman, a heavy burden for a 
clumsy bench, drinking what Christopher Sly would 
have called very sufficient small-beer with a peasant's 
iwife, the following description of the fairy host may 
> come more near the idea he has formed of that invi- 
i sible company. Bessie Dunlop declared, that as she 



136 LETTERS ON 

went to tether her nag by the side of Restalrig Loch 
(Lochend, near the eastern port of Edinburgh), she 
heard a tremendous sound of a body of riders rush- 
ing past her, with such a noise as if heaven and earth 
would come together. That the sound swept past 
her, and seemed to rush into the lake with a hideous 
rumbling noise. All this while she saw nothing; 
but Thome Reid showed her that the noise was oc- 
casioned by the wights, who were performing one 
of their cavalcades upon earth. 

The intervention of Thome Reid, as a partner in 
her trade of petty sorcery, did not avail poor Bessie 
Dunlop, although his affection toher was apparently 
entirely Platonic, — the greatest familiarity on which 
he ventured was taking hold of her gown as he 
pressed her to go with him to Eifland. Neither did 
it avail her, that the petty sorcery which she practised 
was directed to venial or even beneficial purposes. 
The sad words on the margin of the record, " Con- 
vict and burned," sufficiently express the tragic con- 
clusion of a curious tale. 

Alison Pearson, in Byrehill, was, 28th May, 1588, 
tried for invocation of the spirits of the Devil, spe- 
cially in the vision of one Mr. William Sympson, 
her cousin, and her mother's brother's son, who, she 
affirmed, was a great scholar and doctor of medicine, 
dealing with charms, and abusing the ignorant peo- 
ple. Against this poor woman, her own confession, 
as in the case of Bessie Dunlop, was the principal 
evidence. 

As Bessie Dunlop had Thome Reid, Alison Pearson 
had also a familiar in the court of Eifland. This 
was her relative William Sympson aforesaid, born 
in Stirling, whose father was king's smith in that 
town. William had been taken away, she said, by 
a man of Egypt (a Gipsy), who carried him to Egypt 
along with him. That he remained there twelve 
years, and that his father died in the mean time, for 
opening a priest's book, and looking upon it. She 



DEMOXOLOGY AXD WITCHCRAFT. 137 

declared that she had renewed her acquaintance with 
her kinsman, so soon as he returned. She farther 
confessed, that one day, as she passed through 
Grange Mmr, she lay down, in a fit of sickness, and 
that a green man came to her, and said, if she would 
be faithful, he might do her good. In reply, she 
.charged him, in the name of God, and by the law he 
■ lived upon, if he came for her soul's good, to tell his 
: errand. On this the green man departed. But he 
afterward appeared to her, with many men and 
women with him; and, against her will, she was 
.obliged to pass with them farther than she could tell, 
with piping, mirth, and good cheer ; also that she ac- 
companied them into Lothian, where she saw 
.puncheons of wine, with tasses, or drinking cups. 
[She declared, that when she told of these things, she 
|was sorely tormented, and received a blow that took 
jaw-ay the power of her left side, and left on it an 
iugly mark, which had no feeling. She also con- 
fessed that she had seen, before sunrise, the Good 
Neighbours make their salves with pans and fires. 
^Sometimes, she said, they came in such fearful 
forms as frightened her very much. At other times 
they spoke her fair, and promised her that she should 
never want, if faithful ; but if she told of them and 
their doings, they threatened to martyr her. She 
also boasted of her favour with the Queen of Elfland, 
and the good friends she had at that court, notwith- 
standing that she was sometimes in disgrace there, 
and had not seen the queen for seven years. She 
said, W illiam Sympson is with the fairies, and that 
re lets her know when thev are coming ; and that he 
:aught her Avhat remedies to use, and how to apply 
.hem. She declared that when a whirlwind blew, 
he fames were commonly there, and that her cousin 
Sympson confessed that every year the tithe of them 
vere taken away to Hell. The celebrated Patrick 
Vdamson, an excellent divine, and accomplished 
scholar, created by James VI. Archbishop of St. 
M 2 



138 LETTERS ON 

Andrews, swallowed the prescriptions of this pooi 
hypochondriac, with good faith and will, eating a 
stewed fowl, and drinking out at two draughts a 
quart of claret, medicated with the drugs she recom- 
mended. According to the belief of the time, this 
Alison Pearson transferred the bishop's indisposition 
from himself to a white palfrey, which died in con- 
sequence. There is a very severe libel on him foi 
this and other things unbecoming his order, with 
which he was charged, and from which Ave learn that 
Lethington and Buccleuch were seen by dame Pear- 
son in the Fairyland.* This poor woman's kinsman. 
Sympson, did not give better shelter to her than 
Thome Reid had done to her predecessor. The 1 
margin of the court book again bears the melancholy 
and brief record, " Convicta et combvsta." 

The two poor women last mentioned are the more 
to be pitied, as, whether enthusiasts or impostors, 
they practised their supposed art exclusively for the 
advantage of mankind. The following extraordinary 
detail involves persons of far higher quality, and who 
sought to familiars for more baneful purposes. 

Katharine Munro, Lady Fowlis, by birth Katharine 
Ross of Balnagowan, of high rank, both by her own 
family and that of her husband, who was the fifteenth 
Baron of Fowlis, and chief of the warlike clan of 
Munro, had a step-mothers quarrel with Robert 
Munro, eldest son of her husband, which she grati- 
fied by forming a scheme for compassing his death 
oy unlawful arts. Her proposed advantage in this 
was, that the widow of Robert, when he was thus 
removed, should marry with her brother George 
Ross of Balnagowan; and for this purpose, her sis- 
ter-in-law, the present Lady Balnagowan, was also 
to be removed. Lady Fowlis, if the endictment had 
a syllable of truth, earned on her practices with the 
least possible disguise. She assembled persons of 

* See Scottish Poems, edited by John G. Dalzell, p. 321 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 139 

the lowest order, stamped with an infamous celebrity 
as witches ; and besides making pictures or models 
! in clay, by which they hoped to bewitch Robert Munro 
and Lady Balnagowan, they brewed, upon one occa- 
sion, poison so strong, that a page tasting of it im- 
! mediately took sickness. Another earthern jar 
(Scottice, pig,) of the same deleterious liquor was 
' prepared by the Lady Fowlis, and sent with her own 
nurse, for the purpose of administering it to Robert 
Munro. The messenger having stumbled in the 
dark, broke the jar, and a rank grass grew on the spot 
where it fell, which sheep and cattle abhorred to 
touch; but the nurse, having less sense than the 
brute beasts, and tasting of the liquor which had 
been spilled, presently died. What is more to our 
present purpose, Lady Fowlis made use of the ar- 
tillery of Elfland, in order to destroy her step-son and 
sister-in-law. Laskie Loncart, one of the assistant 
hags, produced two of what the common people call 
elf-arrow-heads, being, in fact, the points of flint used 
for arming the ends of arrow shafts in the most an- 
cient times, but accounted by the superstitious the 
weapons by which the fairies were wont to destroy 
both man and beast. The pictures of the intended 
victims were then set up at the north end of the apart- 
ment, and Christian Ross Malcolmson, an assistant 
hag, shot two shafts at the image of Lady Balnago- 
wan, and three against the picture of Robert Munro, 
by which shots they were broken, and Lady Fowlis 
commanded new figures to be modelled. Many 
similar acts of witchcraft, and of preparing poisons, 
were alleged against Lady Fowlis. 

Her son-in-law, Hector Munro, one of his step- 
mother's prosecutors, was, for reasons of his own, 
active in a similar conspiracy against the life of his 
own brother. The rites that he practised were of 
an uncouth, barbarous, and unusual nature. Hector 
being taken ill, consulted on his case some of the 
witches or soothsayers, to whom this family appears 



140 LETTERS ON 

to have been partial. The answer was unanimous 
that he must die unless the principal man of his 
blood should suffer death in his stead. It was agreed 
that the vicarious substitute for Hector must mean 
George Munro, brother to him by the half-blood (the 
son of the Catharine, Lady Fowlis, before comme- 
morated). Hector sent at least seven messengers 
for this young man, refusing to receive any of his 
other friends, till he saw the substitute whom he des- 
tined to take his place in the grave. When George 
at length arrived, Hector, by advice of a notorious 
witch, called Marion Maclngarach, and of his own 
foster mother, Christian Neil Daly ell, received him 
with peculiar coldness and restraint. He did not 
speak for the space of an hour, till his brother broke 
silence, and asked " How he did V Hector replied, 
" That he was the better George had come to visit 
him," and relapsed into silence, which seemed sin- 
gular when compared with the anxiety he had dis- 
played to see his brother; but it was, it seems, a 
necessary part of the spell. After midnight, the 
sorceress Marion Maclngarach, the chief priestess, 
or Nicneven, of the company, went forth with her 
accomplices, carrying spades with them. They then 
proceeded to dig a grave, not far from the sea-side, 
upon a piece of land, which formed the boundary 
between two proprietors. The grave was made as 
nearly as possible to the size of their patient Hector 
Munro, the earth dug out of the grave being laid 
aside for the time. After ascertaining that the ope- 
ration of the charm on George Munro, the destined 
victim, should be suspended for a time, to avoid sus- 
picion, the conspirators proceeded to work their spell 
in a singular, impressive, and, I believe, unique man- 
ner. The time being January, 1588, the patient, 
Hector Munro, was borne forth in a pair of blankets, 
accompanied by all who were intrusted with the 
secret, who were warned to be strictly silent, till the 
chief sorceress should have received her mformation 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 141 

from the angel whom they served. Hector Munro 
was carried to his grave, and laid therein, the earth 
being filled in on him, and the grave secured with 
stakes, as at a real funeral. Marion Maclngarach, 
the Hecate of the night, then sat down by the grave, 
while Christian Neil Dalyell, the foster mother, ran 
the breadth of about nine ridges distant, leading a 
boy in her hand, and, coming again to the grave 
where Hector Munro was interred alive, demanded 
of the witch which victim she would choose, who 
replied, that she chose Hector to live, and George 
to die in his stead. This form of incantation was 
thrice repeated ere Mr. Hector was removed from his 
chilling bed in a January grave, and carried home, all 
remaining mute as before. The consequence of a 
process, which seems ill-adapted to produce the 
former effect, was, that Hector Munro recovered, and, 
after the intervention of twelve months, George 
Munro, his brother, died. Hector took the principal 
witch into high favour, made her keeper of his sheep, 
and evaded, it is said, to present her to trial, when 
charged at Aberdeen to produce her. Though one 
or two inferior persons suffered death on account of 
the sorceries practised in the house of Fowlis, the 
Lady Katharine, and her step-son Hector, had both 
the unusual good fortune to be found not guilty. Mr. 
Pitcairn remarks, that the juries being composed of 
subordinate persons, not suitable to the rank or 
family of the person tried, has all the appearance of 
having been packed on purpose for acquittal. It 
might also, in some interval of good sense, creep into 
the heads of Hector Munro's assize, that the enchant- 
ment being performed in January, 1588, and the de- 
ceased being only taken ill of his fatal disease in 
April, 1590, the distance between the events might 
seem too great to admit the former being regarded as 
the cause of the latter.* 

* Pitcairn's Trials, vol. i. p. 191. 201 



142 LETTERS ON 

Another instance of the skill of a sorcerer being 
traced to the instructions of the elves, is found in the 
confession of John Stewart, called a vagabond, but 
professing skill in palmestrie and jugglene, and 
accused of having assisted Margaret Barclay or Dem, 
to sink or cast away a vessel belonging to her own 
good-brother. It being demanded of him by what 
means he professed himself to have knowledge of 
things to come, the said John confessed, that, the 
space of twenty-six years ago, he being travelling 
on All-Hallow-even night, between the towns of 
Monygoif (so spelled) and Clary, in Galway, he met 
with the King of the Fairies and his company, and 
that the King of the Fairies gave him a stroke with 
a white rod over the forehead, which took from him 
the power of speech, and the use of one eye, which 
he wanted for the space of three years. He declared, 
that the use of speech and eyesight was restored to 1 
him by the King of Fairies and his company, on an: 
Hallow-e'en night, at the town of Dublin, in Ireland, 
and that since that time, he had joined these people 
every Saturday at seven o'clock, and remained with! 
them all the night ; also, that they met every Hallow-! 
tide, sometimes on Lanark Hill (Tintock, perhaps), 
sometimes on Kilmaur's Hill, and that he was then 
taught by them. He pointed out the spot of his 
forehead, on which, he said, the King of the Fames 
struck him with a white rod, whereupon, the prisoner 
being blindfolded, they pricked the spot with a large 
pin, whereof he expressed no sense or feeling. Hej 
made the usual declaration, that he had seen many 
persons at the Court of Fairy, whose names he 
rehearsed particularly, and declared that all such 
persons as are taken away by sudden death go with 
the King of Elfland. With this man's evidence we 
have at present no more to do, though we may revert 
to the execrable proceedings which then took place! 
against this miserable juggler and the poor women 1 
who were accused of the same crime. At present it is 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 143 

quoted as another instance of a fortune-teller referring 
to Elfland as the source of his knowledge. 

At Auldearne, a parish and burgh of Barony, in the 
county of Nairne, the epidemic terror of witches 
seems to hare gone very far. The confession of a 
woman called Isobel Gowdie, of date April, 1662, 
implicates, as usual, the Court of Fairy, and blends 
the operations of witchcraft with the facilities afford- 
ed by the fairies. These need be the less insisted 
upon in this place, as the arch fiend, and not the elves, 
had the immediate agency in the abominations which 
she narrates. Yet she had been, she said, in the 
"Dounie Hills, and got meat there from the Queen of 
Fairies, more than she could eat. She added, that 
the queen is bravely clothed in white linen, and in 
white and brown cloth,— that the King of Fairy is a 
brave man; and there were elf-bulls roaring and 
shilling at the entrance of their palace, which fright- 
ened her much. On another occasion this frank 
penitent confesses her presence at a rendezvous of 
witches, Lammas 1659, where, after they had rambled 
through the country in different shapes, of cats, 
haresrand the like, eating, drinking, and wasting the 
goods of their neighbours, into whose houses they 
could penetrate, they at length came to the Dounie 
Hills, where the mountain opened to receive them, 
and they entered a fair big room, as bright ai=r day. 
At the entrance ramped and roared the large fairy 
bulls, which always alarmed Isobel Gowdie. These 
animals are probably the water bulls, famous both in 
Scottish and Irish tradition, which are not supposed 
to be themselves altogether canny, or safe to have 
concern with. In their caverns the fairies manufac- 
tured those elf-arrow-heads, with which the witches 
and they wrought so much evil. The elves and the 
arch-fiend laboured jointly at this task, the former 
forming and sharpening the dart from the rough flint, 
and the latter perfecting and finishing, or, as it is 
called, (lighting it. Then came the sport of the 



144 LETTERS ON 

meeting. The witches bestrode either corn straws, 
bean stalks, or rushes, and calling "Horse and 
Hattock, in the Devil's name !" which is the elfin 
signal for mounting, they flew wherever they listed. 
If the little whirlwind which accompanies their 
transportation passed any mortal, who neglected to 
bless himself, all such fell under the witches' power, 
and they acquired the right of shooting at him. The 
penitent prisoner gives the names of many whom 
she and her sisters had so slain, the death for which 
she was most sorry being that of William Brown, in 
the Milntown of Mains. A shaft was also aimed at 
the Reverend Harrie Forbes, a minister who was 
present at the examination of Isobel, the confessing 
party. The arrow fell short, and the witch would 
have taken aim again, but her master forbade her, 
saying, the reverend gentleman's life was not subject 
to their power. To this strange and very particular 
confession we shall have occasion to recur, when 
witchcraft is the more immediate subject. What is 
above narrated marks the manner in which the 
belief in that crime was blended with the fairy su- 
perstition. 

To proceed to more modern instances of persons 
supposed to have fallen under the power of the fairy 
race, we must not forget the Rev. Robert Kirke, 
minister of the Gospel, the first translator of the 
Psalms into Gaelic verse. He was, in the end of 
the seventeenth century, successively minister of the 
Highland parishes of Balquidder and Aberfoyle, 
lying in the most romantic district of Perthshire, and 
within the Highland line. These beautiful and wild 
regions, comprehending so many lakes, rocks, seques- 
tered valleys, and dim copsewoods, are not even yet 
quite abandoned by the fairies, who have resolutely 
maintained secure footing in a region so well suited 
for their residence. Indeed, so much was this the 
case formerly, that Mr. Kirke, while in his latter 
charge of Aberfoyle, found materials for collecting 



DEM0N0L0GY AND WITCHCRAFT. 143 

and compiling his Essay on the " Subterranean and 
for the most part Invisible People, heretofore going 
under the name of Elves, Fawnes, and Fairies, or 
the like."* In this discourse, the author, " with un- 
doubting mind," describes the fairy race as a sort of 
astral spirits, of a kind between humanity and angels 
— says that they have children, nurses, marriages, 
deaths, and burials, like mortals in appearance ; that, 
in some respect, they represent mortal men, and 
that individual apparitions, or double-men, are found 
among them, corresponding Avith mortals existing 
on earth. Mr. Kirke accuses them of stealing the 
; milk from the, cows, and of carrying away what is 
' more material, the women in pregnancy, and new- 
born children from their nurses. The remedy is 
j easy in both cases. The milk cannot be stolen, if 
(the mouth of the calf, before he is permitted to suck, 
(be rubbed with a certain balsam, very easily come 
by ; and the woman in travail is safe, if a piece of 
cold iron is put into the bed. Mr. Kirke accounts 
for this, by informing us, that the great northern 
mines of iron, lying adjacent to the place of eternal 
punishment, have a savour odious to these "fascinat- 
ling creatures." They have, says the reverend 
author, what one would not expect, many light, toyish 
books (novels and plays, doubtless), others on Rosy- 
crucian subjects, and of an abstruse mystical cha- 
racter ; but they have no Bibles, or works of devotion. 
The essayist fails not to mention the elf-arrow-heads, 
which have something of the subtlety of thunder- 
bolts, and can mortally wound the vital parts, with- 
out breaking the skin. These wounds, he says, he 
has himself observed in beasts, and felt the fatal 
lacerations which he could not see. 

* The title continues,— "Among the Low Country Scots, as they are 
described by those who have the second sight, and now, to occasion 
farther inquiry, collected and compared by a circumspect inquirer 
residing among the Scottish-Iri;.h (i. e. the Gael, or Highlanders) in 
Scotland." It was printed with the author's name in 1691, and re 
printed, Edinburgh, 1815, for Longman and Co. 



146 LETTERS ON 

It was by no means to be supposed that the elves, 
so jealous and irritable a race as to be incensed 
against those who spoke of them under their proper- 
names, should be less than mortally offended at the 
temerity of the reverend author, who had pried so 
deeply into their mysteries, for the purpose of giving 
them to the public. Although, therefore, the learned; 
divine's monument, with his name duly inscribed, is, 
to be seen at the east end of the churchyard at Aber-i 
foyle, yet those acquainted with his real history do 1 
not believe that he enjoys the natural repose of the: 
tomb. His successor, the Rev. Dr. Grahame, has 
informed us of the general belief, that as Mr. Kirke) 
was walking one evening in his night-gown upon aj 
Dun-shi, or fairy mount, in the vicinity of the manse 
or parsonage, behold ! he sunk down in what seemed 
to be a fit of apoplexy, which the unenlightened took 
for death, while the more understanding knew it to 
be a swoon produced by the supernatural influence 
of the people whose precincts he had violated. After 
the ceremony of a seeming funeral, the form of the 
Rev. Robert Kirke appeared to a relation, and com-! 
manded him to go to Grahame of Duchray, ancestor 
of the present General Grahame Stirling. " Say to 
Duchray, who is my cousin as well as your own, thai 
I am not dead, but a captive in Fairy Land, and only 
one chance remains for my liberation. When the 
posthumous child, of which my wife has been deli- 
vered since my disappearance, shall be brought to, 
baptism, I will appear in the room, when, if Duchray^ 
shall throw over my head the knife or dirk which he' 
holds in his hand, I may be restored to society ; but if 
this opportunity is neglected, I am lost for ever.'' 
Duchray was apprized of what was to be done. The 
ceremony took place, and the apparition of Mr. Kirke 
was visibly seen while they were seated at table ; but 
Grahame of Duchray, in his astonishment, failed to 
perform the ceremony enjoined, and it is to be feared 
that Mr. Kirke still "drees his weird in fairyd 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 147 

land," the Elfin state declaring' to him, as the 
Ocean to poor Falconer, who perished at sea, 
after having written his popular poem of the Ship- 
wreck, — 

"Thou hast proclaimed our power — be thou our prey !" 

Upon this subject the reader may consult a very 
entertaining little volume, called " Sketches of Perth- 
shire,"* by the Rev. Dr. Grahame of Aberfoyle. 
The terrible visitation of fairy vengeance which has 
lighted upon Mr. Kirke has not intimidated his suc- 
cessor, an excellent man, and good antiquary, from 
affording us some curious information on fairy super- 
stition. He tells us that these capricious elves are 
chiefly dangerous on a Friday, when, as the day of 
the Crucifixion, evil spirits have most power, and 
mentions their displeasure at any one who assumes 
their accustomed livery of green, a colour fatal to 
several families in Scotland, to the whole race of the 
gallant Grahames in particular ; insomuch, that we 
have heard that in battle a Grahame is generally shot 
through the green check of his plaid ; moreover, that 
a veteran sportsman of the name, having come by a 
bad fall, he thought it sufficient to account for it, that 
he had a piece of green whip-cord to complete the 
lash of his hunting-whip. I remember, also, that 
my late amiable friend, James Grahame, author of 
" The Sabbath," would not break through this ancient 
prejudice of his clan, but had his library table 
covered with blue or black cloth, rather than use 
the fated colour commonly employed on such oc- 
casions. 

To return from the Perthshire fairies, I may quote 
a stoiy of a nature somewhat similar to that of Mas 
Robert Kirke. The life of the excellent person who 
told it was, for the benefit of her friends and the poor 9 

* Edinburgh, 1812. 



148 LETTERS ON 

protracted to an unusual duration; so I conceive that 
this adventure, which took place in her childhood, < 
might happen before the middle of the last century, q 
She was residing with some relations, near the small « 
seaport town of '"North Berwick, when the place and 
its vicinity were alarmed by the following story: — 

An industrious man, a Aveaver, in the little to 
was married to a beautiful woman, who, after bearing 
two or three children, was so unfortunate as to di 
during the birth of a fourth child. The infant was 
saved, but the mother had expired in convulsions ; and 
as she was much disfigured after death, it became an 
opinion among her gossips, that, from some neglect 
of those who ought to have watched the sick woman, 
she must have been carried off by the elves, and this 
ghastly corpse substituted in the place of the body. 
The widower paid little attention to these rumours, 
and, after bitterly lamenting his wife for a year ol 
mourning, began to think on the prudence of form- 
ing a new marriage, which, to a poor artisan with so 
young a family, and without the assistance of a 
housewife, was almost a matter of necessity. He 
readily found a neighbour with whose good looks he 
was satisfied, while her character for temper seemed 
to warrant her good usage of his children. He pro- 
posed himself and was accepted, and carried the 
names of the parties to the clergyman (called, I be- 
lieve Mr. Matthew Reid) for the due proclamation of 
bans. As the man had really loved his late partner, 
it is likely that this proposed decisive alteration of 
his condition brought back many reflections concern- 
ing the period of their union, and with these recalled 
the extraordinary rumours which were afloat at the 
time of her decease, so that the whole forced upon 
him the following lively dream. As he lay in his bed, 
awake as he thought, he beheld, at the ghostly hour 
of midnight, the figure of a female dressed in white, 
who entered his hut, stood by the side of his bed, and 
appeared to him the very likeness of his late wife. 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 149 

'He conjured her to speak, and with astonishment 
heard her say, like the minister of Aberfoyle, that 
she was not' dead, but the unwilling captive of the 
Good Neighbours. Like Mr. Kirke, too, she told 
him, that if all the love which he once had for 
her was not entirely gone, an opportunity still 
remained of recovering her, or winning her back, 
as it was usually termed, from the comfortless 
realms of Elfland. She charged him, on a certain 
day of the ensuing week, that he should convene 
the most respectable housekeepers in the town, with 
the clergyman at their head, and should disinter 
the eoffin"in which she was supposed to have been 
buried. " The clergyman is to recite certain pray- 
ers, upon which," said the apparition, " I will start 
from the coffin, and fly with great speed round the 
church, and you must have the fleetest runner of 
the parish (naming a man famed for swiftness) to 
pursue me, and such a one, the smith, renowned for 
his strength, to hold me fast, after I am overtaken ; 
and in that case I shall, by the prayers of the church, 
and the efforts of my loving husband and neighbours, 
again recover my station in human society." In 
the morning, the poor widower was distressed with 
the recollection of his dream, but ashamed and puz- 
zled, took no measures in consequence. A second 
night, as is not very surprising, the visitation was 
again repeated. On the third night she appeared 
with a sorrowful and displeased countenance, up- 
braided him with want of love and affection, and 
conjured him, for the last time, to attend to her in- 
structions, which, if he now neglected, she would 
never have power to visit earth or communicate with 
him again. In order to convince him there was no 
delusion, he " saw in his dream" that she took up 
the nursling at whose birth she had died, and gave 
it suck ; she spilled also a drop or two of her milk 
on the poor man's bed-clothes, as if to assure him 
of the reality of the vision. 
N3 



150 Li ITERS ON" 

The next morning the terrified widower carried a 
statement of his termexitv :■:> Mr. Matthew Rem. the 
eierrvmam This revereiii person, besides be in g an 
excellent divine in other respects, was at the same 
time a man o: sagacity, who mmrrs-.cou me unman 
passions. He die not attempt to eomcat tne reality 
of the vision which had thrown his parishioner into 
this tribulation, but be contended U could be only an 
illusion of the devil. He explained to the widower 
that no created being could have the right or power 
to imprison or detain the soul :■:" a Christian — con- 
jured him not to believe that his wife was othe rwise 
disposed of than according to Goa's measure — as- 
sured mm that Protestant aoitrmeutterry uemestne 
existence of any middle slate in me world to come 
— and explained to him that he, as a clergyman oi 
the Church of Scotland, neither could nor dared au- 
thorize oremr.g; graves. >r using me intervention oi 
traver to sanction rites oi a suspicious character. I 
The poor mam. confounded and perplexed by ;•'--".-! 
ous feelings, asked his pastor whal he should do J 
" I will jive you my best advice," said the clergy- 
man. * Get your new bride's consent to be mamedj 
to-morrow, or to-day, if you can; I will take it onj 
me to dispense with the res: of the bans, or proclaim! 
them three times in one cay. \ on will have a ne ^j 
wife, and if you think of ti> mrmer. it wm : e c my 
as oi one from whom death has separated you, and 
for whom you may have thoughts of affection andj 
sorrow, but" as a saint in Heaven, and not as a pri- 
soner in Emm:." Tne advice was tamemaua me 
perplexed wide wer had no more visitations from his 
former spouse. , 

An instance, perhaps the latest which has teen 
made public, of communication with me Besdesa 
people— (a more proper epithet than that of Daomt\ 
Shu or Men of Peace, as they are called in Gael 
— came under Pennant's notice, so late as dun _ 
that observant traveller's tour in 1169. Being per- 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 151 

haps the latest news from the invisible common- 
wealth, we give the tourist's own words. 

" A poor visionary who had been working in his 
cabbage garden (in Breadalbane), imagined that he 
was raised suddenly up into the air, and conveyed 
over a wall into an adjacent corn-field ; that he found 
himself surrounded by a crowd of men and women, 
many of whom he knew to have been dead for some 
years, and who appeared to him skimming over the 
tops of the unbending corn, and mingling together 
like bees going to hive ; that they spoke an unknown 
language, and with a hollow sound ; that they very 
roughly pushed him to and fro, but on his uttering 
the name of God, all vanished but a female sprite, 
who, seizing him by the shoulder, obliged him to pro- 
mise an assignation, at that very hour that day seven- 
night ; that he then found his hair was all tied in 
double knots (well known by the name of elf-locks), 
and that he had almost lost his speech ; that he kept 
his word with the spectre, whom he soon saw float- 
ing through the air towards him ; that he spoke to 
her, but she told him she was at that time in too 
much haste to attend to him, but bid him go away 
and no harm should befall him, and so the affair 
rested when I left the country. But it is incredible 
the mischief of these agri somnia did in the neigh- 
bourhood. The friends and neighbours of the de- 
ceased, whom the old dreamer had named, were in 
the utmost anxiety at finding them in such bad com- 
pany in the other world ; the almost extinct belief 
of the old idle tales began to gain ground, and the 
good minister will have many a weary discourse and 
exhortation before he can eradicate the absurd ideas 
this idle story has revived."* 

It is scarcely necessary to add, that this compara- 
tively recent tale is just the counterpart \a the story 
of Bessie Dunlop, Alison Pearson, and «jf the Irish 

* Pennant's Tour in Scotland, voL i p. 1*0. 



152 LETTERS ON 

butler, who was so nearly earned off, all of whom 
found in Elfland some friend formerly of middle 
earth, who attached themselves to the child of hu- 
manity, and who endeavoured to protect a fellow- 
mortal against their less philanthropic companions. 
These instances may tend to show how the fairy, 
superstition, which, in its general sense of worship- 
ping the Dii Campestres, was much the older of thej 
two, came to bear upon, and have connexion wit™ 
that horrid belief in witchcraft, which cost so many 
innocent persons, and crazy impostors, their lives, 1 
for the supposed commission of impossible crimes. 
In the next chapter, I propose to trace how the gene- 1 
ral disbelief in the fairy creed began to take place, 
and gradually brought into discredit the supposed; 
fears of witchcraft, which afforded pretext for such] 
cruel practical consequences. 



LETTER VI. 

Immediate Effect of Christianity on Articles of Popular Superstition— I 
Chaucer's Account of the Eomsn Catholic Priests banishing the | 
Fairies — Bishop Corbett imputes the same Effect to the Reformation 
His Verses on that Subject — tlis Iter Septentrionale— Robin Good- 
fellow, and other Superstitions mentioned by Reginald Scot — Cha- 
racter of the English Fairies— The Tradition had become obsolete in 
that Author's Time — That of Witches remained in Vigour— But 
impugned by various Authors after the Reformation, as Wierus, 
Naudceus, Scot, and others— Demonology defended by Bodinus, 
Remigius, &c. — Their mutual Abuse of each other— Imperfection of 
Physical Science at this Period, and the Predominance of Mysticism 
in that Department. 

Although the influence of the Christian religion | 
was not introduced to the nations of Europe with 
such radiance as to dispel at once those clouds of 
superstition which continued to obscure the under- 
standing of hasty and ill-instructed converts, there 
can be no doubt "that its immediate operation went 



DEM0N0L0GY AND WITCHCRAFT. 153 

Ito m&dify the erroneous and extravagant articles of 
k credulity, which lingered behind the old Pagan faith, 
f and which gave way before it in proportion as its 
I light became more pure and refined from the devices 
of men. 

ti The poet Chaucer, indeed, pays the Church of 
Rome, with its monks and preaching friars, the com- 
ipliment of having, at an early period, expelled from 
•the land all spirits of an inferior and less holy cha- 
I ) acter. The verses are curious as well as picturesque, 
I and may go some length to establish the existence of 
doubts concerning the general belief in fairies among 
the well instructed in the time of Edward III. 

The fairies of whom the bard of Woodstock talks, 
are, it will be observed, the ancient Celtic breed, 
and he seems to refer for the authorities of his 
tale to Bretagne, or Armorica, a genuine Celtic 
polony. 

" In old time of the King Artour, 
Of which that Bretons speken great honour, 
All was this land fulfilled of faerie ; 
The Elf queen, with her joly company, 
Danced full oft in many a grene mead. 
This was the old opinion, as 1 rede — 
I speake of many hundred years ago, 
But now can no man see no elves mo. 
For now the great charity and prayers 
Of limitours,* and other holy freres, 
That searchen every land and every stream, 
As thick as motes in thesunne beam, 
Blessing halls, chambers, kitchenes, and boures, 
Cities and burghes, castles high and towers, 
Thropes and barnes, sheep- pens and dairies, 
This maketh that there ben no fairies. 
For there as wont to walken was an elf, 
There walkelh now the limitour himself, 
In under nichles and inmorweninas, 
And eaith his matlins and his holy tilings, 
As hegoeth in his limitation. 
Women may now go safely up and doun ; 
In every bush, and under every tree, 
There is no other incubus than he, 
And he ne will don them no dishonour. 

* Friars limited to beg within a certain district. 
Wit", of Bath's Tale. 



]54 LETTERS ON 

When we see the opinion which Chaucer has ex 
pressed of the regular clergy of his time, in somt 
of his other tales, we are tempted to suspect some 
mixture of irony in the compliment, which ascribe! 
the exile of the fairies, with which the land was 
"fulfilled," in King Arthur's time, to the warmth anc 
zeal of the devotion of the limitary friars. Indivi 
dual instances of skepticism there might exist amon^ 
scholars, but a more modern poet, with a vein oi 
humour not unworthy of Geoffrey himself, has witl 
greater probability delayed the final banishment o] 
the fairies from England, that is, from popular faith 
till the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and has representee 
their expulsion as a consequence of the change o1 
religion. Two or three verses of this lively satire 
may be very well worth the reader's notice, wh( 
must, at the same time, be informed, that the author 
Dr. Corbett, was nothing less than the Bishop oi 
Oxford and Norwich, in the beginning of the 17tl 
century. The poem is named, "A proper nev 
Ballad, entitled the Fairies' Farewell, to be sung o: 
whistled to the tune of the Meadow Brow, by the 
learned; by the unlearned, to the tune of For; 
tune." — 

" Farewell, rewards and fairies, 

Good housewives now may say, 
For now foul sluts in dairies 

Do fare as well as they ; 
And though they sweep their hearths no less 

Than maids were wont to do, 
Yet who of late for cleanliness 

Finds sixpence in her shoe 1 

" Lament, lament, old abbeys, 

The fairies' lost command; 
They did but change priests' babies, 

But some have changed your land ; 
And all your children sprung from hence 

Are now grown Puritans, 
Who live as changelings ever since 

For love of vour domains. 



;l At morning and at evening both, 
You merry were and glad, 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 155 

So little care of sleep and sloth 

Those pretty ladies had. 
When Tom came home from labour, 

Or Cis to milking rose, 
Then merrily, merrily went their tabour, 

And merrily went their toes. 

" Witness, those rings and roundelays 

Of theirs, which yet remain, 
Were footed in Queen Mary's days, 

On many a grassy plain ; 
But since of late Elizabeth, 

And later, James came in, 
They never danced on any heath 

As when the time hath bin. 

" By which we note, the fairies 

Were of the old profession, 
Their sonss were Ave Maries, 

Their dances were procession. 
But now, alas ! they all are dead, 

Or gone beyond the seas ; 
Or farther for religion fled, 

Or else they take their ease." 

The remaining part of the poem is dedicated to 
he praise and glory oi old William Chourne, of Staf- 
fordshire, who remained a true and stanch evidence 
hi behalf of the departed elves, and kept, much it 
would seem to the amusement of the witty bishop, 
an inexhaustible record of their pranks and feats, 
whence the concluding verse. 

"To William all give audience 
And pray ye for his noddle, 
For all the fairies' evidence, 
Were lost if that were addle."* 

This William Chourne appears to have attended 
Dr. Corbett's party on the iter septentrionale, two of 
which were, and two desired to be, doctors ;" but 
whether William was guide, friend, or domestic, 
seems uncertain. The travellers lose themselves in 
the mazes of Chorley Forest, on their way to Bos- 
worth, and their route becomes so confused, that they 
return on their steps, and labour 

* Corbett's Poems, edited by Octavius Gilchrist, p. 213 



156 LETTERS ON 

'As in a conjurer's circle — William found 
A mean for our deliverance,—' Turn your cloaks,' 
Quoth he, ' for Puck is busy in these oaks ; 
If ever you atBosworth would be found, 
Then turn your cloaks, for this is fairy ground. 
But ere this* witchcraft was perform'd, we meet 
A verv man who had no cloven feet. 
Though William, still of little faith, has doubt, 
'Tis Robin, or some sprite that walks about 
' Strike him,' quoth he, ' and it will turn to air — 
Cross vourselves thrice and strike it.'—' Strike that dare, 
Thought I, ' for sure this massy forester, 
In strokes will prove the better conjurer.' 
But 't was a gentle keeper, one that knew 
Humanity and manners, where they grew, 
And rode along so far, till he could say, 
' See, yonder Bosworth stands, and this your way ' "* 

In this passage, the Bishop plainly shows the fairies 
maintained their influence in William's imagination, 
since the courteous keeper was mistaken by then : 
associate champion for Puck or Robin Goodfellow ( 
The spells resorted to, to get rid of his supposed de-.c 
lusions, are alternatively that of turning the cloak— j 
(recommended, in visions of the second sight, 01 1 
similar illusions, as a means of obtaining a certainU I 
concerning the being which is before imperfect!} B 
seenf)— and that of exorcising the spirit with « 
cudgel ; which last, Corbett prudently thinks, ough i 
not to be resorted to, unless under an absolute con- 1 
viction that the exorcist is the stronger party.':. 
Chaucer, therefore, could not be serious in averring I 
that the fairy superstitions were obsolete in his day. 5 
since they were found current three centuries after ) 
ward. 

It is not the less certain, that, as knowledge anc p 
religion became more widely and brightly _ display ec 
over any country, the superstitious fancies of the j 
people sunk gradually in esteem and influence ; and 

* Corbett's poems, p. 19L 

f A common instance is, that of a person haunted with a resenv j 
blance, whose face he cannot see. If he turn his cloak, or plaid, he wil 
obtain the full sight which he desires, and may probably find it to be nil 
own fetch, or wranh, or double ganger. 



DEM0N0L0GY AND WITCHCRAFT. 157 

in the time of Queen Elizabeth, the unceasing 
labour of many and popular preachers, who declaimed 
against the " splendid miracles" of the Church of 
Rome, produced also its natural effect upon the other 
stock of superstitions. " Certainly," said Reginald 
Scot, talking of times before his own, "some one 
knave in a white sheet hath cozened and abused many 
thousands, especially when Robin Goodfellow kept 
such a coil in the country. In our childhood, our 
mothers' maids have so terrified us with an ugly devil 
having horns on his head, fire in his mouth, and a tail 
at his breech ; eyes like a basin, fangs like a dog, claws 
Like a bear, a skin like a negro, and a voice roaring 
Like a lion, whereby we start and. are afraid when we 
bear one cry, Boh ! and the}^ have so frayd us with 
bull-beggars, spirits, witches, urchins, elves, hags, 
fairies, satyrs, Pans, fauns, sylvans, Kitt-with-the* 
candlestick, tritons, centaurs, dwarfs, giants, imps, 
calcars, conjurers, nymphs, changelings, incubus, 
Robin Goodfellow, the spoorn, the man-in-the-oak, 
the hellwain, the firedrake, the puckle, Tom Thomb, 
Hobgoblin, Tom-Tumbler, Boneless, and such other 
bugbears, that we are afraid of our own shadows, 
insomuch that some never fear the Devil but on a 
dark night ; and then a polled sheep is a perilous 
beast, and many times is taken for our father's souL 
specially in a churchyard, where a right hardy man 
heretofore durst not to have passed by night but his 
hair would stand upright. Well, thanks be to God, 
this wretched and cowardly infidelity, since the" 
preaching of the Gospel, is in part forgotten, and 
doubtless the rest of these illusions will, in a short 
time, by God's grace, be detected, and vanish away."* 
It would require a better demonologist than I am, 
to explain the various obsolete superstitions which 
Reginald Scot has introduced as' articles of the old 
English faith, into the preceding passage. I might 

* Reginald Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft, book vii. chap. 15. 

o 



158 LETVERS ON 

indeed say, the Phuca is a Celtic superstition, from 
which the word Pook, or Puckle, was doubtless de- 
rived ; and I might conjecture, that the man-m-the- 
oak was the same with the Earl-Konig of the Ger- 
mans ; and that the hehwain were a kind of wan- 
dering spirits, the descendants of a champion named 
Hellequin, who are introduced into the romance of 
Richard sans Peur. But most antiquaries will be at 
fault concerning the spoorn, Kitt-with-the-candle- 
stick, Boneless, and some others. The catalogue, 
however, serves to show what progress the English 
have made in two centuries, in forgetting the very 
names of objects which had been the sources of ter- 
ror to their ancestors of the Elizabethan age. 

Before leaving the subject of fairy superstition in 
England, we may remark, that it was of a more play- 
ful and gentle, less wild and necromantic character, 
than that received among the sister people. The 
amusements of the southern fairies were light and 
sportive ; their resentments were satisfied with pinch- 
in °- or scratching the objects of their displeasure ; 
their peculiar sense of cleanliness rewarded the 
housewives with the silver token in the shoe ; their 
nicety was extreme concerning any coarseness or 
negligence which could offend their delicacy ; and I 
cannot discern, except, perhaps, from the insinua- 
tions of some scrupulous divines, that they were vas- 
sals to, or in close alliance with, the mfernals, as 
there is too much reason to believe was the case 
with their North British sisterhood.* The common 
nursery story cannot be forgotten, how, shortly after 
the death of what is called a nice tidy housewife, 
the Elfin band were shocked to see that a person of 

* Dr Jaokson, in his Treatise on Unbelief, opines for the severer 
opinion. "T^s are the Fayries, from difference- of events ascribed to 
then divided into good and bad, when as it >s but one and the same 
2nan fiend, that meddles in both; seeking sometimes to be feared, 
" heffies to be '.oued as God, for the bodily harmes or good tume. 
supposed to be in his power."-Jacfoso» on biibehrf y p. 1/8, edit. Mxtf. 



PEMONOLOGY ANT WITCHCUAFT. 159 

different character, with whom the widower had 
-filled his deserted arms, instead of the nicely ar- 
ranged little loaf of the whitest bread, and a basin 
of sweet cream, duly placed for their refreshment by 
the deceased, had substituted a brown loaf and a 
cobb of herrings. Incensed at such a coarse regale, 
the elves dragged the peccant housewife out of bed, 
and pulled her down the wooden stairs by the heels, 
repeating, at the same time, in scorn of her churlish 
.hospitality, 

" Brown bread and herring cobb ! 
Thy fat sides shall have many a bob '." 

But beyond such playful malice they had no desire 
to extend their resentment. 

The constant attendant upon the English fairy 
court was the celebrated Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, 
who, to the elves, acted in some measure as the jester, 
or clown of the company,— (a character then to be 
found in the establishment of every person of qua- 
lity,)— or to use a more modern comparison, resem- 
bled the Pierrot of the pantomime. His jests were 
of the most simple, and at the same time the broad- 
est comic character— to mislead a clown on his path 
homeward, to disguise himself like a stool, in order 
to induce an old gossip to commit the egregious mis- 
take of sitting down on the floor, when she expected 
to repose on a chair, were his special enjoyments. 
If he condescended to do some work for the sleep- 
ing family, in which he had some resemblance to 
the Scottish household spirit called a Brownie, the 
selfish Puck was far from practising this labour on 
the disinterested principle of the northern goblin, 
who, if raiment or food was left in his way, and for 
his use, departed from the family in displeasure. 
Robm Goodfellow, on the contrary, must have both 
his food and his rest, as Milton informs us, amid his 
other notices of country superstitions, in the poem 
of J' Allegro. And it is to be noticed, that he repre- 



160 LETTERS ON 

sents these tales of the fairies, told round the cot- 
tage hearth, as of a cheerful rather than a serious 
cast ; which illustrates what I have said concerning 
the milder character of the southern superstitions, as 
compared with those of the same class in Scotland 
— the stories of which are for the most part of a 
frightful, and not seldom of a disgustful quality. 

Poor Robin, however, between whom and King 
Oberon Shakspeare contrives to keep a degree of 
distinct subordination, which for a moment deceives 
us by its appearance of reality, notwithstanding his 
turn for wit and humour, had been obscured by obli- 
vion even in the days of Queen Bess. We have 
already seen, in a passage quoted from Reginald Scot, 
that the belief was fallen into abeyance ; that which 
follows from the same author, affirms more posi- 
tively that Robin's date was over. 

" Know you this, by-the-way, that heretofore Robin 
Goodfellow and Hobgoblin were as terrible, and also 
as credible, to the people, as hags and witches be 
now ; and, in time to come, a witch will be as much 
derided and condemned, and as clearly perceived, 
as the illusion and knavery of Robin Goodfellow, 
upon whom there have gone as many and as credi- 
ble tales as witchcraft, saving that it hath not pleased 
the translators of the Bible to call spirits by the 
name of Robin Goodfellow, as they have diviners, 
soothsayers, poisoners, and cozeners, by the name 
of witches."* In the same tone Reginald Scot ad- 
dresses the reader in the preface — " To make a so- 
lemn suit to you that are partial readers to set aside 
partiality, to take in good part my writings, and 
with indifferent eyes to look upon my book, were la- 
bour lost and time ill employed; for T should no 
more prevail herein, than if a hundred years since I 
should have entreated your predecessors to believe 
that Robin Goodfellow, that great and ancient bulk 

* Reginald Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft, book vii. chap. ii. 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 181 

beggar, had been but a cozening merchant, and no 
I devil indeed. But Robin Goodfellow ceaseth now 
to be much feared, and Popery is sufficiently disco- 
vered ; nevertheless, witches' charms and conjurers' 
cozenage are yet effectual." This passage seems 
clearly to prove, that the belief in Robin Goodfellow 
and his fairy companions was now out of date, while 
that as to witchcraft, as was afterward but too well 
shown, kept its ground against argument and con- 
troversy, and survived " to shed mare blood." 

We are then to take leave of this fascinating ar- 
ticle of the popular creed, having in it so much of 
interest to the imagination, that we almost envy the 
credulity of those who, in the gentle moonlight of a 
summer night in England, amid the tangled glades 
of a deep forest, or the turfy swell of her romantic 
commons, could fancy they saw the fairies tracing 
their sportive ring. But it is in vain to regret illu- 
sions which, however engaging, must of necessity 
yield their place before the increase of knowledge, 
like shadows at the advance of morn. These super- 
stitions have already served their best and most use- 
ful purpose, having been embalmed in the poetry of 
Milton and of Shakspeare, as well as writers only 
inferior to these great names. Of Spenser we must 
say nothing, because in his Faery Queen, the title 
is the only circumstance which connects his splen- 
did allegory with the popular superstition, and, as 
he uses it, means nothing more than an Utopia, or 
nameless country. 

With the fairy popular creed fell, doubtless, many 
subordinate articles of credulity in England ; but the 
belief in witches kept its ground. It was rooted in 
the minds of the common people, as well by the 
easy solution it afforded of much which they found 
otherwise hard to explain, as in reverence to the 
Holy Scriptures, in which the word witch being used 
in several places, conveyed to those who did not 
trouble themselves about the nicety of the transla- 
02 



162 LETTERS ON 

tion from the Eastern tongues, the inference that the 
same species of witches were meant as those against 
whom modern legislation had, in most European na- 
tions, directed the punishment of death. These two 
circumstances furnished the numerous believers in 
witchcraft with arguments in divinity and law which 
they conceived irrefragable. They might say to the 
theologist, Will you not believe in witches? the 
Scriptures aver their existence ; — to the jurisconsult, 
Will you dispute the existence of a crime, against 
which our own statute-book and the code of almost 
all civilized countries have attested, by laws upon 
which hundreds and thousands have been convicted, 
many, or even most of whom have, by their judicial 
confessions, acknowledged their guilt and the justice 
of their punishment] It is a strange skepticism, 
they might add, which rejects the evidence of Scrip- 
ture, of human legislature, and of the accused per- 
sons themselves. 

Notwithstanding these specious reasons, the six- 
teenth and seventeenth centuries were periods when 
the revival of learning, the invention of printing, the 
fearless investigations of the reformers into subjects 
thought formerly too sacred for consideration of any 
save the clergy, had introduced a system of doubt, 
inquiry, disregard of authority, when unsupported by 
argument, and unhesitating exercise of the private 
judgment, on subjects which had occupied the bulls 
of popes, and decrees of councils. In short, the 
spirit of the age was little disposed to spare error, 
however venerable, or countenance imposture, how- 
ever sanctioned by length of time and universal 
acquiescence. Learned writers arose in different 
countries to challenge the very existence of this 
imaginary crime, to rescue the reputation of the 
great men whose knowledge, superior to that of 
their age, had caused them to be suspected of magic, 
and to put a stop to the horrid superstition whose 
victims were the aged, ignorant, and defenceless, and 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 163 

which could only be compared to that which sent 
victims of old through the fire to Moloch. 

The courageous interposition of those philoso- 
phers who opposed science and experience to the 
prejudices of superstition and ignorance, and in do- 
ing so, incurred much misrepresentation, and per- 
haps no little ill-will, in the cause of truth and 
humanity, claims for them some distinction in a 
work on Demonology. The pursuers of exact sci- 
ence to its coy retreats were sure to be the first to 
discover, that the most remarkable phenomena in 
nature are regulated by certain fixed laws, and can^ 
not rationally be referred to supernatural agency, the 
sufficing cause to which superstition attributes all 
that is beyond her own narrow power of explana- 
tion. Each advance in natural knowledge teaches 
us that it is the pleasure of the Creator to govern 
the world by the laws which he has imposed, and 
which are not in our times interrupted or suspended. 

The learned Wier, or Wierus, was a man of great 
research in physical science, and studied under the 
celebrated Cornelius Agrippa, against whom the 
charge of sorcery was repeatedly alleged by Paulus 
Jovius, and other authors, while he suffered, on the 
other hand from the persecution of the inquisitors 
of the church, whose accusation against this cele- 
brated man was, that he denied the existence of 
spirits, a charge very inconsistent with that of sor- 
cery, which consists in corresponding with them. 
Wierus, after taking his degrees as a doctor of medi- 
cine, became physician to the Duke of Cleves, at 
whose court he practised for thirty years, with the 
highest reputation. This learned man, disregarding 
the scandal which, by so doing, he was likely to 
bring upon himself, was one of the first who attacked 
the vulgar belief, and boldly assailed, both by se- 
rious arguments and by ridicule, the vulgar credulity 
on the subject of wizards and witches. 

Gabriel Naude, or Naudaeus, as he termed him- 



164 lETTERS ON 

self, was a perfect scholar and man of letters, busied 
during his whole life with assembling books together, 
and enjoying the office of librarian to several per- 
sons of high rank, among others, to Queen Christina 
of Sweden. He was, besides, a beneficed clergy- 
man, leading a most unblemished life, and so tem- 
perate, as never to taste any liquor stronger than 
water; yet did he not escape the scandal which is , 
usually 'duns by their prejudiced contemporaries 
upon those disputants whom it is found more easy 
to defame than to answer. He wrote an interesting i 
work, entitled, " Apologie pour les Grands Hommes 
Accuses de Magie;" and as he exhibited a good 
deal of vivacity of talent, and an earnestness m, 
pleading his cause, which did not always spare some 
of the superstitions of Rome herself, he was charged 
by his contemporaries as guilty of heresy and skep- 
ticism, when justice could only accuse him of an in- 
cautious eagerness to make gbod his argument. 

Among persons who, upon this subject, purged 
their eye's with rue and euphrasie, besides the Rev- 1 
Dr. Harsnet, and many others (who wrote rather onj 
special cases of Demonoloay than on the general, 
question), Reginald Scot ought to be distinguished. 
Webster assures us, that he was a " person of com- , 
petent learning pious, and of a good family." He 
seems to have"been a zealous Protestant, and much, 
of his book, as well as that of Harsnet, is designed, 
to throw upon the Papists in particular those tricks, 
in which, by confederacy and imposture, the popular . 
ideas concerning witchcraft, possession, and other 
supernatural fancies were maintained and kept in . 
exercise ; but he also writes on the general question 
with some force and talent, considering that his sub- 
ject is incapable of being reduced into a regular 
form, and is of a nature particularly seductive to an 
excursive talent. He appears to have studied leger- 
demain for the purpose of showing how much that 
is apparently unaccountable can nevertheless be 



DEM0N0L0GY AND WITCHCRAFT. 165 

performed without the intervention of supernatural 
issistance, even when it is impossible to persuade 
! he vulgar that the Devil has not been consulted on 
he occasion. Scot also had intercourse with some 
>f the celebrated fortune-tellers, or Philomaths, of 
he time ; one of whom he brings forward to declare 
he vanity of the science which he himself had once 
irofessed. 

To defend the popular belief of witchcraft, there 
Lrose a number of advocates, of whom Bodin, and 
;ome others, neither wanted knowledge nor powers 
If reasoning. They pressed the incredulous party 
vith the charge that they denied the existence of a 
rime against which the law had denounced a capi- 
al punishment. As that law was understood to ema- 
tate from James himself, who was reigning monarch 
luring the hottest part of the controversy, the Eng- 
ish authors who defended the opposite side were 
obliged to intrench themselves under an evasion, to 
void maintaining an argument unpalatable to a de- 
free to those in power, and which might perchance 
tave proved unsafe to those who used it. With a 
certain degree of sophistry, they answered, that they 
lid not doubt the possibility of witches, but only de- 
nurred to what is their nature, and how they came 
o be such — according to the scholastic jargon, that 
he question in respect to witches, was not de exis- 
entia, but only de modo existendi. 

By resorting to so subtle an argument, those who 
mpugned the popular belief were obliged, with some 
nconsistency, to grant that witchcraft had existed, 
md might exist, only insisting that it was a species 
)f witchcraft consisting of they knew not what, but 
certainly of something different from that which 
egislators, judges, and juries had hitherto consi- 
iered the statute as designed to repress. 

In the mean time (the rather that the debate was 
Dii a subject particularly difficult of comprehension), 
the debating parties grew warm, and began to call 



166 LETTERS ON 

names. Bodin, a lively Frenchman of an irritabl 
habit, explained the zeal of Wierus to protect th 
tribe of sorcerers from punishment, by stating, the 
he himself was a conjurer, and the scholar of Coi 
nelius Agrippa, and might therefore well desire t 
save the lives of those accused of the same leagu 
with Satan. Hence they threw on their antagonist i 
the offensive names of witch-patrons and witch j 
advocates, as if it were impossible for any to hoi '. 
the opinion of Naudeeus, Wierus, Scot, &c, withoi I 
patronising the Devil and the witches against the;j 
brethren of mortality. Assailed by such heav j 
charges, the philosophers themselves lost patience | 
and retorted abuse in their turn, calling Bodin, De' I 
rio, and others who used their arguments, witchj 
advocates, and the like, as the affirming and defend; 
ing the existence of the crime seemed to increas 
the number of witches, and assuredly augmented th 
list of executions. But, for a certain time, the pre 
ponderance of the argument lay on the side of th 
Demonologists, and we may briefly observe th 
causes which gave their opinions, for a period, greate 
influence than their opponents, on the public mine 

It is first to be observed, that Wierus, for wh« 
reason cannot well be conjectured, except to sho\ 
the extent of his cabalistical knowledge, had intrc! 
duced into his woik against witchcraft the wholj 
Stenographia of Trithemius, which he had copies 
from the original in the library of Cornelius Agrippa 
and which, suspicious from the place where he founi 
it, and from the iong catalogue of fiends which 
contained, with the charms for raising and for bind 
ing them to the service of mortals, was considered 
by Bodin as containing proof that Wierus himsel; 
was a sorcerer; not one of the wisest, certainly, sine 
he thus unnecessarily placed at the disposal of an; 
who might buy the book, the whole secrets whicj 
formed his stock in trade. 

Secondly, we may notice, that, from the state o: 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 167 

)hysical science at the period when Van Helmont, 
D aracelsus, and others began to penetrate into its 
ecesses, it was an unknown, obscure, and ill-derined 
egion, and did not permit those who laboured in it 
o give that precise and accurate account of theii 
liscoveries, which the progress of reasoning experi- 
nentally, and from analysis, has enabled the lata 
liscoverers to do with success. Natural magic, a 
hrase used to express those phenomena which 
ould be produced by a knowledge of the properties 
f matter, had so much in it that was apparently un- 
ombined and uncertain, that the art of chymistry 
/as accounted mystical, and an opinion prevailed, 
lat the results now known to be the consequence 
f laws of matter, could not be traced through their 
arious combinations, even by those who knew the 
fleets themselves. Physical science, in a word, 
•as cumbered by a number of fanciful and incorrect 
pinions, chiefly of a mystical character. If, for 
istance, it was observed that a flag and a fern 
ever grew near each other, the circumstance was 
nputed to some antipathy between these vegetables ; 
or was it for some time resolved by the natural 
tile, that the flag has its nourishment in marshy 
round, whereas the fern loves a deep dryish soil, 
'he attributes of the divining-rod were fully cre- 
ited; the discovery of the philosopher's stone was 
aily hoped for; and electricity, magnetism, and 
ther remarkable and misconceived phenomena 
rere appealed to as proof of the reasonableness of 
aeir expectations. Until such phenomena were 
■aced to their sources, imaginary and often mystical 
auses were assigned to them, for the same reason 
lat, in the wilds of a partially discovered country, 
ccording to the satirist, 

" Geographers on pathless downs 
Place elephants for want of towns." 

This substitution of mystical fancies for experi- 



168 LETTERS ON 

mental reasoning, gave, in the sixteenth and seveni 
teenth centuries, a doubtful and twilight appearanc I 
to the various branches of physical philosophy. Thl 
learned and sensible Dr. Webster, for instance! 
writing in detection of supposed witchcraft, asi 
sumes, as a string of undeniable facts, opinion] 
which our more experienced age would reject ai 
frivolous fancies ; " for example, the effects of healj 
ing by the weapon-salve, the sympathetic powdeij 
the curing of various diseases by apprehensions 
amulets, or by transplantation." All of which uni 
doubted wonders he accuses the age of desiring t« 
throw on the Devil's back — an unnecessary load 
certainly, since such things do not exist, and it i; 
therefore in vain to seek to account for them. J\ 
followed, that while the opposers of the ordinar 
theory might have struck the deepest blows at th» 
witch-hypothesis by an appeal to common senst 
they were themselves hampered by articles of phi 
losophical belief, which, they must have been sen 1 
sible, contained nearly as deep draughts upon humai 
credulity as were made by the Demonologists 
against whose doctrine they protested. This erro 
had a doubly bad effect, both as degrading the imme 
diate department in which it occurred, and as afford 
ing a protection for falsehood in other branches o: 
science. The champions who, in their own pro; 
vince, were obliged by the imperfect knowledge oi 
the times, to admit much that was mystical and in! 
explicable — those who opined, with Bacon, that warti 
could be cured by sympathy — who thought, wit] 
Napier, that hidden treasures could be discovem 
by the mathematics — who salved the weapon insteai 
of the wound, and detected murders as well a; 
springs of water by the divining-rod, could not conj 
sistently use, to confute the believers in witches, aij 
argument turning on the impossible or the incredible 
Such were the obstacles arising from the vanitj 
of philosophers and the imperfection of their science! 



DEM0X0L0GY AND WITCHCRAFT. 169 

rhich suspended the strength of their appeal to 
sason and common sense against the condemning 
f wretches to a cruel death, on account of crimes 
duch the nature of things rendered in modern times 
rtally impossible. We cannot doubt that they suf- 
:red considerably in the contest, which was carried 
n with much anger and malevolence ; but the good 
;ed which they had sown remained uncorrupted in 
le soil, to bear fruit so soon as the circumstances 
rould be altered which at first impeded its growth, 
i the next letter I shall take a view of the causes 
■hich helped to remove these impediments — in ad- 
ition, it must always be remembered, to the general 
tcrease of knowledge and improvement of experi- 
lental philosophy. 



LETTER VII. 

mal Laws unpopular when rigidly exercised — Prosecution of Witches 
placed in the Hand of Special Commissioners, ad inquirendum — Pro- 
secution for Witchcraft not frequent in the elder Period of the 
Roman Empire— Nor in the Middle Ages— Some Cases took place, 
however — The Maid of Orleans — The Dutchess of Gloucester — 
Richard the Thiid's Charge against the Relations of the Queen- 
Dowager — But Prosecutions against Sorcerers became more common 
in the End of the fourteenth Century — Usually united with the Charge 
of Heresy — Monstrelet's Account of the Persecution against the Wal- 
denses, under Pretext of Witchcraft — Florimond's Testimony con- 
cerning the Increase of Witches in his own Time — Bull of Pope In- 
nocent VIII. — Various Prosecutions in foreign Countries under this 
severe Law — Prosecutions in Labourt, by the Inquisitor De Lancra 
and his Colleague — Lycanthropy — Witches in Spain — in Sweden— 
And particularly those apprehended at Mohra. 

Penal laws, like those of the middle ages de- 
ounced against witchcraft, may be at first hailed 
dth unanimous acquiescence and approbation ; but 
re uniformly found to disgust and offend, at least 
te more sensible part of the public, when the pu- 
ishments become frequent, and are relentlessly in- 
P 



170 LETTERS ON 

flicted. Those against treason are no exception^ . 
Each reflecting government will do well to shorten, 
that melancholy reign of terror, which, perhaps, must 
necessarily follow on the discovery of a plot, or the-i 
defeat of an insurrection. They ought not, eithe^ 
in humanity or policy, to wait till the voice of the 
nation calls to them, as Mecsenas to Augustus; 
"Surge tandem, carnifexT 

It is accordingly remarkable, in different coun-j 
tries, how often, at some particular period of theh> 
history, there occurred an epidemic terror of witches^ 
which, as fear is always cruel and credulous, gluttecl 
the public with seas of innocent blood— and ho\\ ( 1 
uniformly men loathed the gore, after having swal.j 
lowed it, and by a reaction natural to the human 
mind, desired in prudence to take away or restric 
those laws, which had been the source of carnage; 
in order that their posterity might neither have th Sj 
will nor the means to enter into similar excesses. 

A short review of foreign countries before \v< 
come to notice the British islands and their colonies 
will prove the truth of this statement. In Catholiq 
countries on the continent, the various kingdoms] 
adopted readily that part of the civil law already 
mentioned, which denounces sorcerers and AvitcheSj 
as rebels to God, and authors of sedition in the era 
pire. But being considered as obnoxious equally tc, 
the canon and civil law, Commissions of Inquisition 
were especially empowered to weed out of the lane 
the witches and those who had intercourse witr 
familiar spirits, or in any other respect fell under the 
ban of the Church, as well as the heretics Avho pro- 
mulgated or adhered to false doctrine. Specie 
warrants were thus granted from time to time in be-.j 
half of such inquisitors, authorizing them to visit] 
those provinces of Germany, France, or Italy, where 
any report concerning witches or sorcery had alarmec, 
the public mind ; and those commissioners, proud of; 
the trust reposed in them, thought it becoming to 



DEMONOLOGY AN T D WITCHCRAFT. 171 

ise the utmost exertions on their part that the sub- 
lety of the examinations, and the severity of the 
ortures they inflicted, might wring the truth out of 
ill suspected persons, until they rendered the pro- 
ince in which they exercised their jurisdiction a 
lesert from which the inhabitants fled. It would be 
mpossible to give credit to the extent of this delu- 
ion, had not some of the inquisitors themselves 
ieen reporters of their own judicial exploits: the 
ame hand which subscribed the sentence has re- 
orded the execution. 

In the earlier period of the Church of Rome, 
Btchcraft is frequently alluded to, and a capital 
unishment assigned to those Avho were supposed 
d have accomplished by sorcery the death of others, 
r to have attempted, by false prophecies, or other- 
wise, under pretext of consulting with the spiritual 
world, to make innovation in the state. But no 
eneral denunciation against witchcraft itself, as a 
jague with the enemy of man, or desertion of the 
>eity, and a crime sui generis, appears to have been 
o acted upon, until the later period of the six- 
3enth century, when the Papal system had attained 
;s highest pitch of power and of corruption. The 
lfluence ofthe churchmen was, in early times, se- 
ure, and they rather endeavoured, by the fabrica- 
on of false miracles, to prolong the blind vene- 
ation of the people, than to vex others, and weary 
nemselves, by secret investigations into dubious 
nd mystical trespasses, in which, probably, the 
igher and better instructed members of the clerical 
rder put as little faith at that time, as they do now. 
)id there remain a mineral fountain, respected for 
he cures which it had wrought, a huge oak-tree, or 
enerated mount, which beauty of situation had 
ecommended to traditional respect, the fathers of 
he Roman Church were in policy reluctant to 
bandon such impressive spots, or to represent them 
<$ exclusively the rendezvous of witches, or of evil 



172 LETTERS ON 

spirits. On the contrary, by assigning the virtue: 
of the spring, or the beauty of the tree, to the guar; 
dianship of some saint, they acquired, as it were; 
for the defence of their own doctrine, a frontier fori? 
tress which they wrested from the enemy, ancj 
which it was at least needless to dismantle, if i{ 
could be conveniently garrisoned and defended;) 
Thus, the Church secured possession of manyi 
beautiful pieces of scenery, as Mr. Whitefield is saiq 
to have grudged to the Devil the monopoly of all the i 
fine tunes. 

It is true, that this policy was not uniformly ob-J 
served. The story of the celebrated Jeanne d'Arc 
called the Maid of Orleans, preserves the memory 
of such a custom, which was in that case turned to 
the prejudice of the poor woman who observed it. 

It is well known that this unfortunate female feDi 
into the hands of the English, after having, by hei- 
courage and enthusiasm manifested on many im- 
portant occasions, revived the drooping courage of! 
the French, and inspired them with the hope of once 
more freeing their country. The English vulgaij 
regarded her as a sorceress — the French as an in-i 
spired heroine ; while the wise on both sides con-; 
sidered her as neither the one nor the other, but a 
tool used by the celebrated Dunois, to play the part 
which he assigned her. The Duke of Bedford, when 
the ill-starred Jeanne fell into his hands, took away 
her life, in order to stigmatize her memory with sor-; 
eery, and to destroy the reputation she had acquired! 
among the French. The mean recurrence to such 
a charge against such a person had no more sue-; 
cess than it deserved, although Jeanne was con-! 
demned, both by the Parliament of Bourdeaux and 
the University of Paris. Her endictment accused 
her of having frequented an ancient oak-tree, andi 
a fountain arising under it, called the Fated or Fairyi 
Oak of Bomiemont. Here she was stated to have 
repaired, during the hours of divine service, dancing 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 173 

skipping, and making gestures, around the tree and 
fountain, and hanging on the branches, chaplets, and 
igarlands of flowers, gathered for the purpose, re- 
viving, doubtless, the obsolete idolatry which in an- 
cient times had been rendered on the same spot to 
ihe Genius Loci. The charmed sword and blessed 
banner, which she had represented as signs of her 
Celestial mission, were, in this hostile charge against 
her, described as enchanted implements, designed 
by the fiends and fairies whom she worshipped, to 
accomplish her temporary success. The death of 
the innocent, high-minded, and perhaps amiable en- 
thusiast was not, we are sorry to say, a sacrifice to 
la superstitious fear of witchcraft, but a cruel in- 
stance of wicked policy, mingled with national 
jealousy and hatred. 

1 To the same cause, about the same period, we 
may impute the trial of the Dutchess of Gloucester, 
wife of the good Duke Humphrey, accused of con- 
sulting witches concerning the mode of compassing 
the death of her husband's nephew, Henry VI. 
The Dutchess was condemned to do penance, and 
thereafter banished to the Isle of Man, while several 
of her accomplices died in prison, or were executed. 
But in this instance, also, the alleged witchcraft was 
only the ostensible cause of a procedure which had 
its real source in the deep hatred between the Duke 
of Gloucester and Cardinal Beaufort, his half- 
brother. The same pretext was used by Richard III., 
when he brought the charge of sorcery against the 
Queen-Dowager, Jane Shore, and the queen's kins- 
men ; and yet again was, by that unscrupulous 
prince, directed against Morton, afterward Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, and other adherents of the 
Earl of Richmond. The accusation, in both cases, 
was only chosen as a charge easily made, and diffi- 
cult to be eluded or repelled. 

But, in the mean while, as the accusation of witch- 
craft thus afforded to tyranny, or policy, the ready 

P2 



174 LETTERS ON" 

means of assailing persons whom it might not have 
been possible to convict of any other crime, the I 
aspersion itself was gradually considered with in- 
crease of terror, as spreading wider and becoming 
more contagious. So early as the year 1398, the : 
University of Paris, in laying down rules for the 
judicial prosecuting of witches, express their regret I 
that the crime was growing more frequent than n 
any former age. The more severe inquiries and fre-'j 
quent punishments, by which the judges endeavoured 
to check the progress of this impious practice, seem] 
to have increased the disease; — as, indeed, it hasil 
been always remarked, that those morbid affections 
of mind which depend on the imagination are sure \ 
to become more common, in proportion as public at- 
tention is fastened on stories connected with their 
display. 

In the same century, schisms, arising from differ- 
ent causes, greatly alarmed the Church of Rome. 
The universal spirit of inquiry which was now afloat, 
taking a different direction in different countries, had, 
in almost all of them, stirred up a skeptical dissatis- 
faction with the dogmas of the Church, — such views 
being rendered more creditable to the poorer classes 
through the corruption of manners among the clergv, 
too many of whom wealth and ease had caused to 
neglect that course of morality which best recom- 
mends religious doctrine. In almost every nation in 
Europe, there lurked, in the crowded cities, or wild 
solitude of the country, sects who agreed chiefly in 
their animosity to the supremacy of Rome, and their 
desire to cast off her domination. The Waldenses and 
Albigenses were parties existing in great numbers 
through the south of France. Romanists became ex- 
tremely desirous to combine the doctrine of the he- 
retics with witchcraft, which, according to their ac- 
count, aboimded especially where the Protestants 
were most numerous ; and the bitterness increasing, 
they scrupled not to throw the charge of sorcery, as 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 175 

a matter of course, upon those who dissented from 
the Catholic standard of faith. The Jesuit Delrio 
alleges several reasons for the affinity which he con- 
siders as existing between the Protestant and the 
sorcerer; he accuses the former of embracing the 
opinion of Wierus, and other defenders of the Devil 
(as he calls all who oppose his own opinions con- 
cerning witchcraft), — thus fortifying the kingdom of 
Satan against that of the Church.* 

A remarkable passage in Monstrelet puts in a clear 
view the point aimed at by the Catholics in thus con- 
fusing and blending the doctrines of heresy and the 
practice of witchcraft, and how a meeting of inoffen- 
sive Protestants could be cunningly identified with a 
Sabbath of hags and fiends. 

"In this year [1459], in the town of Arras, and 
county of Artois, arose, through a terrible and me- 
lancholy chance, an opinion called, I know not why, 
the Religion of Vaudoisie. This sect consisted, it is 
said, of certain persons, both men and women, who, 
under cloud of night, by the power of the Devil, re- 
paired to some solitary spot, amid woods and deserts, 
where the Devil appeared before them in a human 
form, save that his visage is never perfectly visible 
to them, — read to the assembly a book of his ordi- 
nances, informing them how he would be obeyed, — 
distributed a very little money, and a plentiful meal, 
which was concluded by a scene of general profli- 
gacy, — after which, each one of the party was con- 
veyed home to her or his own habitation. 

" On accusations of access to such acts of mad- 
ness," continues Monstrelet, " several creditable 
persons of the town of Arras were seized and impri- 
soned, along with some foolish women and persons 
of little consequence. These were so horribly tor- 
tured, that some of them admitted the truth of the 
whole accusations, and said, besides, that they had 

* Delrio, de Magia. See the Preface. 



176 LETTERS OK 

seen and recognised in their nocturnal assembly, 
many persons of rank, prelates, seigneurs, and go- 
vernors of bailliages and cities, being such names as 
the examinators had suggested to the persons exa- 
mined, while they constrained them by torture to 
impeach the persons to •whom they belonged. Se-< 
veral of those who had been thus informed against 
were arrested, thrown into prison, and tortured for 
so long a time, that they also were obliged to confess' 
what was charged against them. After tins, those ofl 
mean condition were executed and inhumanly burned, 
while the richer and more powerful of the accused 
ransomed themselves by sums of money, to avoid 
the punishment and the shame attending it. Man 
even of those also confessed being persuaded to take 
that course by the interrogators, who promised them- 
indemnity for life and fortune. Some there were, of ; 
a truth, who suffered, with marvellous patience andi 
constancy, the torments inflicted on them, and would 1 
confess nothing imputed to their charge ; but they,} 
too. had to give large sums to the judges, who ex-j 
acted that such of them as, notwithstanding their! 
mishandling', were still able to move, should banish' 
themselves from that part of the country." Moil 
strelet 'winds up this shocking narrative by informing 
us, " that it ought not to be concealed, that the whole! 
accusation was a stratagem of wicked men for their! 
own covetous purposes, and in order, by these false 
accusations and forced confessions, to destroy the[ 
life, fame, and fortune of wealthy persons." 

Delrio himself confesses that Franeiscus Balduinus 
gives an account of the pretended punishment, but 
real persecution, of these Waldenses, in similar terms 
with Monstrelet.whosesuspicions are distinctly spo- 
ken out, and adds, that the Parliament of Paris, hav- 
ing heard the affair by appeal, had declared the sen- 
tence illegal, and the judges iniquitous, by an arret, 
dated 20th May. 1491. The Jesuit Delrio quotes the 
passage, but adheres with lingering reluctance, to 



DEMOXOLOGY A>'D WITCHCRAFT. 177 

me truth of the accusation. — " The "Waldenses (of 
,vhom the Albigenses are a species) were," he says, 
['never free from the most wretched excess of fasci- 
lation ;"' and finally, though he allows the conduct of 
the judges to have been most odious, he cannot pre- 
vail on himself to acquit the parties charged, by such 
interested accusers, with horrors, which should hardly 
rave been found proved even upon the most distinct 
evidence. He appeals on this occasion to Flori- 
nond's work on Antichrist. The introduction of that 
,vork deserves to be quoted, as strongly illustrative 
)f the condition to which the country was reduced, 
ind calculated to make an impression the very re- 
verse probably of that which the writer would have 
lesired. 

" AU those who have afforded us some signs of the 
ipproach of Antichrist, agree that the increase of 
;oreery and witchcraft is to distinguish the melan- 
choly period of his advent ; and was ever age so af- 
Jicted with them as ours ? The seats destined for 
criminals before our judicatories are blackened with 
persons accused of this guilt. There are not judges 
enough to try them. Our dungeons are gorged with 
hem. No day passes that we do not render our tri- 
bunals bloody by the dooms which we pronounce, or 
n which we do not return to our homes discounte- 
lanced and terrified at the horrible contents of the 
confessions which it has been our duty to hear. And 
he Devil is accounted so good a master, that we 
?annot commit so great a number of his slaves to the 
3ames, but what there shall arise from their ashes a 
.lumber sufficient to supply their place."* 

This last statement, by which it appears that the 
most active and unsparing inquisition was taking 
place, corresponds with the historical notices of 
repeated persecutions upon this dreadful charge of 
sorcery. A bull of Pope Innocent the VIII. rang 

*Florimond concerning the Antichrist, cap. T, n. 5, quoted by Delrio, 
ie Magia. p. 520 



178 LETTERS ON 

the tocsin against this formidable ciime, and 
forth in the most dismal colours the guilt, while il 
stimulated the inquisitors to the unsparing discharge 
of their duty, in searching out and punishing the, 
guilty. " It is come to our ears," says the bull, " that 
numbers of both sexes do not avoid to have inter- 
course with the infernal fiends, and that by thein, 
sorceries they afflict both man and beast ; that they 
blight the marriage-bed, destroy the births of women,; 
and the increase of cattle ; they blast the corn on the! 
ground, the grapes of tne vineyard, the fruits of the 
trees, the grass, and herbs of the field." For which 
reasons, the inquisitors were armed with the apos-, 
tolic power, and called upon to " convict, imprison, 
and punish," and so forth. 

Dreadful were the consequences of this bull all 
over the continent, especially in Italy, Germany, and 
France.* About 1485, Cumanus burned as witches 
forty-one poor women in one year, in the county of; 
Burlia. In the ensuing years, he continued the pro- 
secution with such unremitting zeal, that many fled 
from the country. 

Alciatus states, that an inquisitor, about the same 
period, burned a hundred sorcerers in Piedmont, 
and persevered in his inquiries till human patience 
was exhausted, and the people arose and drove himji 
out of the country, after which the jurisdiction wasj, 
deferred to the archbishop. That prelate consulted I 
Alciatus himself, who had just then obtained his 
doctor's degree in civil law, to which he was after- 
ward an honour. A number of unfortunate wretches 
were brought for judgment, fitter, according to the 
civilian's opinion, for a course of hellebore, than for 
the stake. Some were accused of having dishonoured 
the crucifix, and denied their salvation; others of 
having absconded to keep the Devil's Sabbath, in spite 
of bolts and bars ; others of having merely joined 

* Dr. Hutchison quotes H Institor, 105, 161, 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 179 

« h the choral dances around the witches' tree of ren- 
dezvous. Several of their husbands and relatives 
•swore that they were in bed and asleep during these 
pretended excursions. Alciatus recommended gen- 
j le and temperate measures ; and the minds of the 
I jountry became at length composed.* 
I In 1488, the country four leagues around Constance 
* ,vas laid waste by lightning and tempest, and two 
j vomen being, by fair means or foul, made to confess 
themselves guilty as the cause of the devastation, 
I suffered death. 

I About 1515, five hundred persons were executed 
fat Geneva, under the character of "Protestant 
Twitches ;" from which we may suppose many suffered 
kor heresy. Forty-eight witches were burned at Ra- 
kensburgh within four years, as Hutchison reports, on 
[the authority of Mengho, the author of the " Malleus 
fMaleficarum." In Lorraine, the learned inquisitor 
IRemigius boasts that he put to death nine hundred 
[people in fifteen years. As many were banished 
[from that country ; so that whole towns were on the 
(point of becoming desolate. In 1524, a thousand 
fpersons were put to death in one year at Como, in 
[ltaly, and about one hundred every year after lor 
(several years.f 

In the beginning of the next century, the persecu- 
Ition of witches broke out in France with a fury 
I which was hardly conceivable, and multitudes were 
E burned amid that gay and lively people. Some notion 
lof the extreme prejudice of their judges may be 
: drawn from the words of one of the inquisitors them- 
\. selves, Pierre de Lancre, royal counsellor in the 
\ Parliament of Bourdeaux, with whom the President 
I Espaignel was joined in a commission to inquire into 
I certain acts of sorcery, reported to have been com- 
mitted in Labourt and its neighbourhood, at the foot 

* Alciat. Parere. Juris, lib. viii. cliap.^. 
t Bart, de Spina, de Strigilibus. 



180 LETTERS ON 

of the Pyrenees, about the month of May, 1619. A 
few extracts from the preface will best evince the 
state of mind in which he proceeded to the discharge 
of his commission. 

His story assumes the form of a narrative of a 
direct war between Satan on the one side, and the 
Royal Commissioners on the other, " because," says 
Counsellor de Lancre, with self-complaisance, " no- 
thing is so calculated to strike terror into the Fiend 
and his dominions, as a commission with such ple- 
nary powers." 

At first, Satan endeavoured to supply his vassals 
who were brought before the judges Avith strength 
to support the examinations, so that if, by intermis- 
sion of" the torture, the wretches should fall into a 
doze, they declared, when they were recalled from 
it to the question, that the profound stupor "had 
something of Paradise in it, — being gilded," said the 
judge, " with the immediate presence of the Devil ;" 
though in all probability, it rather derived its charms 
from the natural comparison between the insensibility 
of exhaustion, and the previous agony of acute torture. 
The judges took care that the Fiend seldom obtained 
any advantage in the matter, by refusing their vic- 
tims, in most cases, any interval of rest or sleep. 
Satan then proceeded, in the way of direct defiance, 
to stop the mouth of the accused openly, and by 
mere force, with something like a visible obstruction 
in their throat. Notwithstanding this, to put the 
Devil to shame, some of the accused found means, in 
spite of him, to confess and be hanged, or rather 
burned. The Fiend lost much credit by his failure on 
this occasion. Before the formidable commissioners 
arrived, he had held his cour pleniere before the gates 
of Bourdeaux, and in the square of the palace of Ga- 
lienne, whereas he was now instdted publicly by his 
own vassals, and in the midst of his festival of the 
Sabbath, the children and relations of the witches, j 
who had suffered, not sticking to say to him, " Out; 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 181 

upon you ! your promise was, that our mothers who 
were prisoners should not die ; and look how you 
have kept your word with us! They have been 
burned, and are a heap of ashes." To appease this 
mutiny, Satan had two evasions. He produced illu- 
sory fires, and encouraged the mutinous to walk 
through them, assuring them that the judicial pile 
was as frigid and inoffensive as those which he ex- 
hibited to them. Again, taking his refuge in lies, of 
which he is well known to be the father, he stoutly 
affirmed that their parents, who seemed to have suf- 
fered, were safe in a foreign country, and that if 
their children would call on them they would receive 
an answer. They made the invocation accordingly, 
and Satan answered each of them in a tone Avhich 
'resembled the voice of the lamented parent, almost 
as successfully as Monsieur Alexandre could have 
none. 

Proceeding to a yet more close attack, the com- 
rnissioners, on the eve of one of the Fiend's Sab- 
baths, placed the gibbet on which they executed 
■heir victims just on the spot where Satan's gilded 
mair was usually stationed. The Devil was much 
mended at such an affront, and yet had so little 
tower in the matter, that he could only express his 
esentment by threats, that he would hang Messieurs 
)' Amon and D'Urtubbe, gentlemen who had solicited 
!nd promoted the issuing of the commission, and 
vould also burn the commissioners themselves in 
heir own fire. We regret to say, that Satan was 
arable to execute either of these laudable resolu- 
tions. Ashamed of his excuses, he abandoned for 
hree or four sittings his attendance on the Sabbaths, 
ending as his representative an imp of subordinate 
.ccount, and in whom no one reposed confidence. 
Vhen he took courage again to face his parliament, 
he arch-fiend covered his defection by assuring them, 
• hat he had been engaged in a lawsuit with the 
)eity, which he had gained with costs, and that six- 
Q 



im urrata as 

seors :■•£ ^ t *-.t": liilirei ~-:i-: be iei~erec ~ 

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v lit; emu ::' mtie~i~g me i: tees ::' ::i:i- 

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nm s - m - : mi me i m : 1 : :- :e 



DEMONOLOGV AMD WITCHCRAFT. 183 

All snoke to a sort of gilded throne ; but some saw a 
hideous wild he-goat seated there — some a man dis- 
figured and twisted, as suffering torture — some, with 
better taste, beheld a huge indistinct form, resembling 
one of those mutilated trunks of trees found in 
ancient forests. Em De Lancre was no -Daniel 
come to judgment." and the discrepance of evi- 
dence, which saved the life and fame of Susannah. 
made no impression in favour of the sorcerers of 
Labourt. 

Instances occur in De Lanere's book of the trial 
and condemnation of persons accused of the crime 
of lycanthropy, a superstition which was chiefly 
current in France, but was known in other countries. 
and is the subject of great debate between Wier, 
Naude, Scot, on the one hand, and their demonolo- 
gical adversaries on the other. The idea, said the 
one partr. was. that a human being had the power. 
bv sorcery, of transforrning himself into the shape 
of a wolf, and in that capacity, being seized with a 
species of fury, he rushed out. and made havoc 
among: the hocks, slaying and wasting, like the ani- 
mal whom he represented, far more than he could 
devour. The more incredulous reasoners would not 
allow of a real transformation, whether with or with- 
out the enchanted luce of a wolf, which in some 
cases was supposed to aid the metamorphosis, and 
contended that lycanthropy only subsisted as a woful 
species of disease, a melancholy state of mind, 
broken with occasional fits of insanity, in which the 
at imagined that he committed the ravages of 
which he was accused. Such a person, a mere 
youth, was tried at Besancon. who cave himself out 
for a sennint, or yeoman pricker, of the Lord of the 
Forest, so he called bus superior, who was judged to 
be the Devil. He was. by bus master's power, trans- 
formed into the likeness, and performed the usual 
functions, ci a wolf, and was attended in ins course 
bv one larger, which he supposed the Lord of the 



184 LETTERS ON 

Forest himself. These wolves, he said, ravaged the 
flocks, and throttled the dogs which stood in theii 
defence. If either had not seen the other, he howled, 
after the manner of the animal, to call his comrade 
to his share of the prey; if he did not come upon 
this signal, he proceeded to bury it the best way he 
could. 

Such was the general persecution under Messrs. 
Espaignel and De Lancre. Many similar scenes 
occurred in France, till the edict of Louis XIV. dis- 
charging all future prosecutions for witchcraft, after 
which the crime itself was heard of no more.* 

While the spirit of superstition was working such 
horrors in France, it was not, we may believe, more 
idle in other countries of Europe. In Spain par- J 
ticularly, long the residence of the Moors, a people 
putting deep faith in all the day-dreams of witch- 
craft, good and evil genii, spells, and talismans, the 
ardent and devotional temper of the old Christians 
dictated a severe research after sorcerers, as well 
as heretics, and relapsed Jews or Mahometans. In 
former times, during the subsistence of the Moorish 
kingdoms in Spain, a school was supposed to be kept 
open in Toboso, for the study, it is said, of magic, 
but more likely of chymistry, algebra, and other 
sciences, which, altogether mistaken by the ignorant 
and vulgar, and imperfectly understood even by those 
who studied them, were supposed to be allied to 
necromancy, or at least to natural magic. It was, 
of course, the business of the inquisition to purify 
whatever such pursuits had left of suspicious Catho- 
licism, and their labours cost as much blood on ac- 
cusations of witchcraft and magic, as for heresy and 
relapse. 

Even the colder nations of Europe were subject 
to the same epidemic terror for witchcraft, and a 
specimen of it was exhibited in the sober and rational 

* The reader may sup full on such wild horrors in the Causes 
Calibre's 



DEM0N0L0GY AND WITCHCRAFT. 185 

country of Sweden about the middle of last century, 
an account of which, being translated into English 
by a respectable clergyman, Doctor Horneck, excited 
general surprise how a whole people could be im- 
posed upon to the degree of shedding much blood, 
and committing great cruelty and injustice, on ac- 
count of the idle falsehoods propagated by a crew of 
lying children, who, in this case, were both actors 
and witnesses. 

The melancholy truth, that " the human heart is 
deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked," 
is by nothing proved so strongly as by the imperfect 
sense displayed by children of the sanctity of moral 
truth. Both the gentlemen and the mass of the 
people, as they advance in years, learn to despise 
and avoid falsehood ; the former out of pride, and 
from a remaining feeling derived from the days of 
chivalry, that the character of a liar is a deadly stain 
on their honour ; the other, from some general re- 
flection upon the necessity of preserving a character 
for integrity in the course of life, and a sense of the 
truth of the common adage, that "honesty is the 
best policy." But these are acquired habits of think- 
ing. The child has no natural love of truth, as is 
experienced by all who have the least acquaintance 
with early youth. If they are charged with a fault, 
while they can hardly speak, the first words they 
stammer forth are a falsehood to excuse it. Nor is 
this all : the temptation of attracting attention, the 
pleasure of enjoying importance, the desire to escape 
from an unpleasing task, or accomplish a holyday, 
will at any time overcome the sentiment of truth, so 
Aveak is it within them. Hence thieves and house- 
breakers, from a surprisingly early period, find means 
of rendering children useful in their mystery: nor 
are such acolytes found to evade, justice with less 
dexterity than the more advanced rogues. Where a 
number of them are concerned in the same mischief, 
jthere is something resembling virtue in the fidelity 
Q 2 



186 LETTERS ON 

with which the common secret is preserved. Chil- 
dren, under the usual age of their being admitted to 
give evidence, were necessarily often examined in. 
witch trials ; and it is terrible to see how often the! 
little impostors, from spite, or in mere gayety of 
spirit, have, by their art and perseverance, made 
shipwreck of men's lives. But it would be hard to 
discover a case, which, supported exclusively by the 
evidence of children (the confessions under torture 
excepted), and obviously existing only in the young 
witnesses' own imagination, has been attended withi 
such serious consequences, or given cause to so ex- 
tensive and fatal a delusion, as that which occurred 
in Sweden. 

The scene was the Swedish village of.Mohra, rm 
the province of Ehiand, which district had probably 
its name from some remnant of ancient superstition.. 
The delusion had come to a great height ere it) 
reached the ears of government, when, as was the 
general procedure, royal commissioners were sent: 1 
down, men well fitted for the duty intrusted to them ; ; 
that is, with ears open to receive the incredibilities, 
with which they were to be crammed, and hearts | 
hardened against every degree of compassion to thei 
accused. The complaints of the common people,, 
backed by some persons of better condition, were, thatl 
a number of persons, renowned as witches, had drawn; 
several hundred children of all classes under the; 
Devil's authority. They demanded, therefore, thej 
punishment of these agents of hell, reminding the I 
judges, that the province had been clear of witches 
since the burning of some on a former occasion. 
The accused were numerous, so many as threescore; 
and ten witches and sorcerers being seized in the| 
village of Mohra; three-and-twenty confessed their 
ciimes, and were sent to Faluna, where most of; 
them were executed. Fifteen of the children were; 
also led to death. Six-and-thirty of those who 
were young were forced to run the gantlet, as it is 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 187 

ailed, and were, besides, lashed weekly at the church 
loors for a whole year. Twenty of the youngest 
were condemned to the same discipline for three 
lays only. 

The process seems to have consisted in confront- 
ng the children with the witches, and hearing the 
axtraordinary story which the former insisted upon 
Maintaining. The children, to the number of three 
rundred, were found more or less perfect in a tale 
is full of impossible absurdities as ever was told 
round a nursery fire. Their confession ran thus : 

They were taught by the witches to go to a cross 
way, and with certain ceremonies to invoke the Devil 
jy the name of Antecessor, begging him to carry 
hem off to Blockula, meaning, perhaps, the Brock- 
mberg, in the Hartz forest, a mountain infamous 
'or being the common scene of witches' meetings, 
ind to which Goethe represents the spirit Mephis- 
;opheles as conducting his pupil Faustus. The Devil 
courteously appeared at the call of the children, in 
various forms, but chiefly as a mad Merry-Andrew, 
vith a gray coat, red and blue stockings, a red beard, 
i high-crowned hat, with linen of various colours 
trapped round it, and garters of peculiar length. He 
;et each child on some beast of his providing, and 
mointed them with a certain unguent composed of 
he scrapings of altars, and the filings of church- 
docks. There is here a discrepance of evidence 
vhich, in another court, would have cast the whole. 
Host of the children considered their journey to be 
sorporeal and actual. Some supposed, however, 
hat their strength, or spirit, only travelled with the 
iend, and that their body remained behind. Very 
ew adopted this last hypothesis, though the parents 
mammously bore witness, that the bodies of the 
thildren remained in bed, and could not be awakened 
>ut of a deep sleep, though they shook them for the 
>urpose of awakening them. So strong was, never- 
heless, the belief of nurses and mothers in theii 



188 LETTERS ON 

actual transportation, that a sensible clergyman, men 
tioned in the preface, who had resolved he would 
watch his son the whole night, and see what hag 01 
fiend would take him from his arms, had the utmost 
difficulty, notwithstanding, in convincing his mothei 
that the child had not been transported to Blockula. 
during the very night he held him in his embrace. 

The learned translator candidly allows, " out of. 
so great a multitude as were accused, condemned 
and executed, there might be some who suffered un-l 
justly, and owed their death more to the malice of 
their enemies than to their skill in the black art, I will 
readily admit. Nor will I deny," he continues, " but 
that when the news of these transactions and ac- 
counts, how the children bewitched fell into fits and 
strange unusual postures, spread abroad in the king- 
dom, some fearful and credulous people, if they saw 
their children any way disordered, might think 
they were bewitched, or ready to be carried away 
by imps."* The learned gentleman here stops short 
in a train of reasoning, which, followed out, would 
have deprived the world of the benefit of his trans- 
lation. For, if it was possible that some of these 
unfortunate persons fell a sacrifice to the malice of 
their neighbours, or the prejudices of witnesses, as 
he seems ready to grant, is it not more reasonable 1 
to believe, that the whole of the accused were con- 
victed on similar grounds, than to allow, as truth, the 1 
slightest part of the gross and vulgar impossibilities 1 
upon which alone their execution can be justified 1 

The Blockula, which was the object of their jour- 
ney, was a house having a fine gate painted with 
divers colours, with a paddock, in which they turned 
the beasts to graze which had brought them to such 
scenes of revelry. If human beings had been em- 
ployed, they were left slumbering against the wall 
of the house. The plan of the Devil's palace con- 

* Translator's Preface to Hoineck's " Account of what happened in 
the Kingdom of Sweden." See Appendix to GlauviUVs work. 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 189 

sisted of one large banqueting apartment, and several 
with drawing-rooms. Their food was homely 
enough, being broth made of coleworts and bacon, 
with bread and butter, and milk and cheese. The 
same acts of wickedness and profligacy were com- 
mitted at Blockula which are usually supposed to 
take place upon the Devil's Sabbath elsewhere ; but 
there was this particular, that the witches had sons 
and daughters by the fiends, who were married to- 
g-ether, and produced an offspring of toads and 
serpents. 

These confessions being delivered before the ac- 
2used witches, they at first stoutly denied them ; at 
last some of them burst into tears, and acquiesced in 
the horrors imputed to them. They said, the prac- 
tice of carrying off children had been enlarged very 
lately (which shows the whole rumours to have 
irisen recently) ; and the despairing wretches con- 
finned what the children said, with many other ex- 
travagant circumstances, as the mode of elongating 
i goat's back by means of a spit, on which we care 
aot to be particular. It is worth mentioning, that 
the Devil, desirous of enjoying his own reputation 
imong his subjects, pretended at one time to be 
iead, and was much lamented at Blockula — but he 
soon revived again. 

Some attempts these witches had made to harm 
individuals on middle earth, but with little success. 
One old sorceress, indeed, attempted to strike a nail, 
^iven her by the Devil for that purpose, into the head 
rf the minister of Elfiand ; but as the scull was of 
unusual solidity, the reverend gentleman only felt a 
fieadache from her efforts. They could not be per- 
suaded to exhibit any of their tricks before the com- 
missioners, excusing themselves by alleging that 
their witchcraft had left them, and that the Devil had 
amused them with the vision of a burning pit, having 
a hand thrust out of it. 

The total number who lost their lives on this 



190 LETTERS ON 

singular occasion, was fourscore and four persons 
including fifteen children; and at this expense 01 
blood was extinguished a flame that arose as sud: 
denly, burned as fiercely, and decayed as rapidly, ai 
any portent of the kind within the annals of super, 
stition. The commissioners returned to court witl 
the high approbation of all concerned — prayers wer<i 
ordered through the churches weekly, that Heave: 
would be pleased to restrain the powers of the Devili 
and deliver the poor creatures who hitherto hac 
groaned under it, as well as the innocent children 
who were carried off by hundreds at once. 

If we could ever learn the true explanation of thi 
story, we should probably find that the cry was le<| 
by some clever mischievous boy, who wished a 
apologize to his parents for lying an hour longer it 
the morning, by alleging he had been at Blockul; 
on the preceding night ; and that the desire to be a* 
much distinguished as their comrade, had stimulate*:] 
the bolder and more acute of his companions to the 
like falsehoods ; while those of weaker minds as 
sented, either from fear of punishment, or the forct 
of dreaming over at night the horrors which wert 
dinned into their ears all day. Those who were id 
genuous, as it was termed, in their confessions, re- 
ceived praise and encouragement; and those whc 
denied, or were silent, and, as it was considered, ins 
penitent, were sure to bear the harder share of the, 
punishment which was addressed to all. It is wortr ( 
while also to observe, that the smarter children begar 
to improve their evidence, and add touches to the 
general picture of Blockula. " Some of the children 
talked much of a white angel, which used to forbid 
them what the Devil bid them do, and told them that 
these doings should not last long. — And, they added, 
this better being would place himself sometimes 
at the door between the witches and the children, 
and when they came to Blockula he pulled the 
children back, but the witches went in." 



DEMON'OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 191 

i This additional evidence speaks for itself, and 
iows the whole tale to be the fiction of the children's 
pagination, which some of them wished to im- 
i-ove upon. The reader may considt, "An Ac- 
count of what happened in the Kingdom of Sweden 
: the years 1669 and 1670, and afterward translated 
j'lt of High Dutch into English, by Dr. Antony 
orneck," attached to Glanville's " Sadducismus 
riumphatus." The translator refers to the evi- 
;i?nce of Baron Sparr, ambassador from the court 
I Sweden to the court of England, in 167-3 ; and 
tat of Baron Lyonberg, envoy extraordinary of the 
ame power, both of whom attest the confession and 
petition of the witches. The King of Sweden 
.mself answered the express inquiries of the Duke 
I Holstein with marked reserve. " His judges and 
bmmissioners," he said, " had caused divers men, 
omen, and children to be burned and executed, on 
fjch pregnant evidence as was brought before them. 
[ut whether the actions confessed, and proved 
gainst them, were real, or only the effects of strong 
pagination, he was not as yet able to determine ;" 
-a sufficient reason, perhaps, why punishment 
rould have been at least deferred by the interposi- 
on of the royal authority. 

| We must now turn our e3 r es to Britain, in which 
ur knowledge as to such events is necessarily more 
xtensive, and where it is in a high degree more 
iteresting to our present purpose. 



192 LETTERS ON 



LETTER VIII. 

The Effects of the Witch Superstition are to be traced in the Laws ot 
Kingdom — Usually punished in England as a Crime connected with I 
litics — Attempt at Murder for Witchcraft not in itself capital — Tri 
of Persons of Rank for Witchcraft, connected with State Crimes 
Statutes of Henry VIII. — How Witchcraft was regarded by the thi 
leading Sects of Religion in the Sixteenth Century; first, by tj 
Catholics; second, by the Calvinists; third, by the Church of Engla 
and Lutherans — Impostures unwarily countenanced by individi 
Catholic Priests, and also by some Puritanic Clergymen— Statute , 
1562, and some Cases upon it — Case of Dugdale — Case of the Witch 
of Warbois, and Execuiion of the Family of Samuel — That of Ja 
Wenham, in which some Church of England Clergymen insisted on t 
Prosecution — Hutchison's Rebuke to them — James the First's CpinU 
of Witchcraft — His celebrated Statute, 1 Jac. I. — Canon passed by t' 
Convocation against Possession — Case of Mr. Fairfax's Children — La' 
cashire Witches in 1613 — Another Discovery in 1634 — Websten 
Account of the Manner in which the Imposture was managed — Suj. 
riority of the Calvinists is followed by a severe Prosecution (•( 
Witches — Executions in Suffolk, &c. to a dreadful Extent — Hopkir 
the pretended Witchfinder, the Cause of these Cruelties — His brut' 
Practices — His Letter — Execution of Mr. Lowis — Hopkins punished ' 
Restoration of Charles — Trial of Coxe — of Dunny and Callender bi 
fore Lord Hales — Royal Society and Progress of Knowledge — Some; 
setshire Witches — Opinions of the Populace — A Woman swum f 
Witchcraft at Oakly — Murder at Tring — Act against Witchcra 
abolished, and the Belief in the Crime becomes forgotten — Witc 
Trials in New-England — Dame Glover's Trial — Affliction of tl 
Parvises, and frightful Increase of the Prosecutions — Suddenly put ■ 
stop to — The Penitence of those concerned in them. 

Our account of Demonology in England musj 
naturally, as in every other country, depend chieffv 
on the instances which history contains of the law! 
and prosecutions against witchcraft. Other super 
stitions arose and decayed, were dreaded or despised 
without greater embarrassment, in the provinces ii 
which they have a temporary currency, than tha ; ' 
cowards and children go out more seldom at night 
while the reports of ghosts and fairies are peculiarh 
current. But when the alarm of witchcraft arises. 
Superstition dips her hand in the blood of the person: 
accused, and records in the annals of jurisprudence 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 193 

heir trials, and the causes alleged in vindication 
f their execution. Respecting other fantastic alle- 
ations, the proof is necessarily transient and doubt- 
ul, depending upon the inaccurate testimony of vague 
eport and of doting tradition. But in cases of witch- 
,'raft, we have before us the recorded evidence upon 
ratich judge and jury acted, and can form an opinion 
Vith some degree of certainty of the grounds, real or 
anciful, on which they acquitted or condemned. It 
'5, therefore, in tracing this part of Demonology, 
Vith its accompanying circumstances, that we have 
he best chance of obtaining an accurate view of our 
[ubject. 

i The existence of witchcraft was, no doubt, received 
'nd credited in England, as in the countries on the 
Continent, and originally punished accordingly. But 
*,fter the fourteenth century, the practices which fell 
Eider such a description were thought unworthy of 
my peculiar animadversion, unless they were con- 
nected with something which would have been of 
[Self a capital crime, by whatever means it had been 
i:ither essayed or accomplished. Thus, the supposed 
paction between a witch and the demon was perhaps 
jdeemed in itself to have terrors enough to prevent its 
becoming an ordinary crime, and was not, therefore, 
visited with any statutory penalty. But to attempt 
Dr execute bodily harm to others, through means of 
mil spirits, or, in a word, by the black art, was action- 
able at common law, as much as if the party accused 
>iad done the same harm with an arrow or pistol- 
phot. The destruction or abstraction of goods by the 
tike instruments, supposing the charge proved, would, 
in like manner, be punishable. A fortiori, the con- 
sulting soothsayers, familiar spirits, or the like, and 
ithe obtaining and circulating pretended prophecies, 
to the unsettlement of the state, and the endangering 
of the king's title, is yet a higher degree of guilt. 
And it may be remarked, that the inquiry into the 
date of the king's life bears a close affinity with the 
R 



194 LETTERS ON 

desiring 1 or compassing the death of the sovereign 
which is the essence of high-treason. Upon sue 
charges, repeated trials took place in the courts c.i 
the English, and condemnations were pronounces 
with sufficient justice, no doubt, where the connexio 
between the resort to sorcerers, and the design to pe 
petrate a felony, could be clearly proved. We woul i 
not, indeed, be disposed to go the length of so higi 
an authority as Selden, who pronounces (in hi 
Table-talk), that if a man heartily believed that hi 
could take the life of another by waving his h; 
three times, and crying Buzz ! and should, under th 
fixed opinion, wave his hat and cry, Buzz! accon 
ingly, he ought to be executed as a murderer. But J 
false prophecy of the king's death is not to be deaJ 
with exactly on the usual principle ; because, hov 
ever idle in itself, the promulgation of such a predic 
tion has, in times such as we are speaking of, 1 
strong tendency to work its completion. 

Many persons, and some of great celebrity, suj 
fered for the charge of trafficking with witches, t 
the prejudice of those in authority. We have ahead, 
mentioned the instance of the Dutchess of Glad 
cester, in Henry the Sixth's reign, and that of th 
Queen Dowager's kinsmen, in the Protectorate o 
Richard, afterward the Third. In 1521, the Duk 
of Buckingham was beheaded, owing much to hi 
having listened to the predictions of one Friar Hop 
kins. In the same reign, the Maid of Kent, wty 
had been esteemed a prophetess, was put to death a 
a cheat. She suffered with seven persons who ha 
managed her fits for the support of the Catholi 
religion, and confessed her fraud upon the scaffold 
About seven years after this, Lord Hungerford wa 
beheaded for consulting certain soothsayers concern 
ing the length of Henry the Eighth's life. But thes< 
cases rather relate to the purpose for which th 
sorcery was employed, than to the fact of using it. : 

Two remarkable statutes were passed in the yea. 



DEMOXOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 195 

541 ; one against false prophecies, the other against 
'ie act of conjuration, witchcraft, and sorcery, and, 
'; the same time, against breaking and destroying 
•osses. The former enactment was certainly made 
I ease the suspicious and wayward fears of the 
'tchy King Hemy. The prohibition against witch- 
•aft might be also dictated by the king's jealous 
oubts of hazard to the succession. The enactment 
o-ainst breaking crosses was obviously designed to 
leek the ravages of the reformers, who, in England 
•3 well as elsewhere, desired to sweep away Popery 
Hth the besom of destruction. This latter statute 
'as abrogated in the first year of Edward VI., per- 
haps as placing an undue restraint on the zeal of 
ood Protestants against idolatry. 
1 At length, in 1562, a formal statute against sorcery, 
>s penal in itself, was actually passed ; but as the 
lenalty was limited to the pillory for the first trans- 
•ression, the legislature probably regarded those who 
Mont be brought to trial as impostors rather than 
irizards. There are instances of individuals tried 
' nd convicted as impostors and cheats, and who ac- 
knowledged themselves such before the court and 
People : but in their articles of visitation, the prelates 
lirected inquiry to be made after those who should 
iise enchantments, witchcraft, sorcery, or any like 
Craft, invented by the Devil. 

| But it is here proper to make a pause, for the pur- 
oose of inquiring in what manner the religious dis- 
putes which occupied all Europe about this time in- 
fluenced the proceedings of the rival sects in relation 
:o Demonology. 

I The Papal church had long reigned by the proud 
land absolute humour which she had assumed, of 
maintaining every doctrine which her rulers had 
adopted in dark ages ; but this pertinacity at length 
made her citadel too large to be defended at every 
point, by a garrison whom prudence would have re- 
quired to abandon positions which had been taken 



196 LETTERS ON 

in times of darkness, and were unsuited to the w;.| 
fare of a more enlightened age. The sacred mon| 
of the Vatican was, " Vestigia nulla retrorsum ;" all 
this rendered it impossible to comply with the mc«J 
wise and moderate of her own party, who woia 
otherwise have desired to make liberal concession 
to the Protestants, and thus prevent, in its commenc j 
ment, a formidable schism in the Christian world. I 
To the system of Rome the Calvinists offenl 
the most determined opposition, affecting, upon eve 1 
occasion, and on all points, to observe an order <1 
church-government, as well as of worship, express ] 
in the teeth of its enactments; — in a word, to be I 
good Protestant, they held it almost essential to b 
in all things, diametrically opposite to the CathoL 
form and faith. As the foundation of this sect w3 
laid in republican states ; as its clerical discipline w. 
settled on a democratic basis ; and as the countrh 
which adopted that form of government were chiefi 
poor, the preachers, having lost the rank and opulenci 
enjoyed by the Roman Church, were gradually throw 
on the support of the people. Insensibly they be 
came occupied with the ideas and tenets natural t 
the common people, which, if they have usually th 
merit of being honestly conceived and boldly ex 
pressed, are not the less often adopted with credulit 
and precipitation, and carried into effect with unhesi 
tating harshness and severity. 

Between these extremes the Churchmen of Englam 
endeavoured to steer a middle course, retaining a por 
tion of the ritual and forms of Rome, as in themi 
selves admirable, and at any rate too greatly venerate< 
by the people, to be changed merely for opposition'; 
sake. Their comparatively undilapidated revenue! 
the connexion of their system with the state, with 
views of ambition as ample as the station of z 
churchman ought to command, rendered them inde- 
pendent of the necessity of courting their flocks by 
any means save regular discharge of their duty ; and 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 197 

ithe excellent provisions made for their education 
ififforded them learning to confute ignorance, and en- 
lighten prejudice. 

J Such being the general character of the three 
^Churches, their belief in, and persecution of, such 
primes as witchcraft and sorcery, were necessarily 
■modelled upon the peculiar tenets which each system 
iprofessed, and gave rise to various results in the 
Jcountries where they were severally received. 
1 The Church of Rome, as we have seen, was un- 
willing, in her period of undisputed power, to call in 
ihe secular arm to punish men for witchcraft, a crime 
which fell especially under ecclesiastical cognizance, 
t.and could, according to her belief, be subdued by the 
Spiritual arm alone. The learned men at the head 
i of the establishment might safely despise the attempt 
at those hidden arts as impossible; or, even if they 
«!were of a more credulous disposition, they might be 
i unwilling to make laws by which their own inquiries 
i in the mathematics, algebra, chymistry, and other 
npursuits vulgarly supposed to approach the confines 
i of magic art, might, be inconveniently restricted. 
: The more selfish part of the priesthood might think 
that a general belief in the existence of witcnes 
.should be permitted to remain, as a source both of 
i, power and of revenue— that if there were no pos- 
sessions, there could be no exorcism-fees— and, in 
short, that a wholesome faith in all the absurdities 
of the vulgar creed, as to supernatural influences, was 
necessary^ to maintain the influence of Diana of 
Ephesus. They suffered spells to be manufactured, 
since every friar had the power of reversing them— 
they permitted poison to be distilled, because every 
convent had the antidote, which was disposed of to 
all who chose to demand it. It was not till the uni- 
versal progress of heresy, in the end of the fifteenth 
eentury, that tho bull of Pope Innocent VIII., already 
quoted, called to convict, imprison, and condemn the 
sorcerers, chiefly because it was the object to, transfer 
R2 



198 LETTERS ON 

the odium of these crimes to the Waldenses, am 
excite and direct the public hatred against the nev 
sect, by confounding their doctrines with the influ 
ences of the Devil and his Fiends. The bull of Pop< ( 
Innocent was afterward, in the year 1523, enforcec | 
by Adrian VI., with a new one, in which excommu I 
nication was directed against sorcerers and heretics. 

While Rome thus positively declared hersell j 
against witches and sorcerers, the" Calvinists, in whose 1 
numbers must be included the greater part of the J 
English Puritans, who, though they had not finally 
severed from the communion of the Anglican Church. 
yet disapproved of her ritual and ceremonies, as re- 
taining too much of the Papal stamp, ranked them- 
selves, in accordance with their usual policy, in 
diametrical opposition to the doctrine of the Mother 
Church. They assumed in the opposite sense what- 
ever Rome pretended to as a proof of her omnipotent 
authority. The exorcisms, forms, and rites by which 
good Catholics believed that incarnate fiends could 
be expelled, and evil spirits of every kind rebuked— 
these, like the holy water, the robes of the priest, 
and the sign of the cross, the Calvinists considered 
either with scorn and contempt, as the tools of de- 
liberate quackery and imposture, or with horror and 
loathing, as the fit emblems and instruments of an 
idolatrous system. 

Such of them as did not absolutely deny the super- 
natural powers of which the Romanists made boast, 
regarded the success of the exorcising priebt, to 
whatever extent they admitted it, as at "best a cast- 
ing out of devils by the power of Beelzebub, the 
King of the Devils. They saw also, and resented 
bitterly, the attempt to confound any dissent from 
the doctrines of Rome with the proneness to an en- 
couragement of rites of sorcery. On the whole, the 
Calvinists, generally speaking, were, of all the con- 
tending sects, the most suspicious of sorcery, the 
most undoubting believers in its existence, and the 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 199 

nost eager to follow it up with what they conceived 
o be the due punishment of the most fearful of 
crimes. 

i The leading divines of the Church of England 
tvere, without doubt, fundamentally as much op- 
posed to the doctrines of Rome, as those who alto- 
gether disclaimed opinions and ceremonies, merely 
because she had entertained them. But their posi- 
ion in society tended strongly to keep them from 
idopting, on such subjects as we are now discussing, 
either the eager credulity of the vulgar mind, or the 
fanatic ferocity of their Calvinistic rivals. We have 
10 purpose to discuss the matter in detail — enough 
pas probably been said to show generally why the 
Romanist should have cried out a miracle, respect- 
ing an incident which the Anglican would have con- 
temptuously termed an imposture ; while the Cal- 
vinist, inspired with a darker zeal, and, above all, 
with the unceasing desire of open controversy with 
pie Catholics, would have styled the same event an 
Operation of the Devil. 

| It followed, that while the divines of the Church 
of England possessed the upper hand in the king- 
dom, witchcraft, though trials and even condemna- 
tions for that offence occasionally occurred, did not 
create that epidemic terror which the very suspicion 
of the offence carried with it elsewhere ; so that 
Reginald Scot and others alleged, it was the vain 
pretences and empty forms of the Church of Rome, 
by the faith reposed in them, which had led to the 
belief of witchcraft or sorcery in general. Nor did 
prosecutions on account of such charges frequently 
involve a capital punishment, while learned judges 
were jealous of the imperfection of the evidence to 
support the charge, and entertained a strong and 
growing suspicion that legitimate grounds for such 
trials seldom actually existed. On the other hand, 
it usually happened that wherever the Calvinist in- 
terest became predominant in Britain, a general per- 



200 LETTERS ON 

secution of sorcerers and witches seemed to tab 
place of consequence. Fearing and hating sorcer 1 
more than other Protestants, connecting its cere" 
monies and usages with those ot the detested Catho 
lie Church, the Calvinists were more eager thai 
other sects in searching after the traces of thii 
crime, and, of course, unusually successful, as they 
might suppose, in making discoveries of guilt, an<; 
pursuing it to the expiation of the fagot. In a word 
a principle already referred to by Dr. Francis Hut; 
chison, will be found to rule the tide and the reflux 
of such- cases in the different churches. The num': 
Oers of witches, and their supposed dealings witri 
Satan, will increase or decrease according as such 
doings are accounted probable or impossible. Under 
the former supposition, charges and convictions wil; 
be found augmented in a terrific degree. When tha 
accusations are disbelieved, and dismissed as no 
worthy of attention, the crime becomes unfrequent! 
ceases to occupy the public mind, and affords little 
trouble to the judges. 

The passing of Elizabeth's statute against witch- 
craft in 1562 does not seem to have been intended 
to increase the number of trials, or cases of convic- 
tion at least ; and the fact is, it did neither the one 
nor the other. Two children were tried in 1574 for 
counterfeiting possession, and stood in the pillory 
for impostors. Mildred Norrington, called the Maid 
of Westwell, furnished another instance of posses-: 
sion ; but she also confessed her imposture, and 
publicly showed her fits and tricks of mimicry. The 
strong influence already possessed by the Puritans 
may probably be sufficient to account for the darker 
issue of certain cases, in which both juries and 
judges, in Elizabeth's time, must be admitted to 
have shown fearful severity. 

These cases of possession were in some respects 
sore snares to the priests of the Church of Rome, 
who, while they were too sagacious not to be aware 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 201 

that the pretended fits, contortions, strange sounds, 
and other extravagances, produced as evidence of 
the demon's influence on the possessed person, were 
nothing else than marks of imposture by some idle 
vagabond, were nevertheless often tempted to admit 
them as real, and take the credit of curing them. 
The period was one when the Catholic Church had 
much occasion to rally around her all the respect 
that remained to her in a schismatic and heretical 
kingdom; and when her fathers and doctors an- 
nounced the existence of such a dreadful disease, 
and of the power of the church's prayers, relics, and 
ceremonies, to cure it, it was difficult for a priest, 
supposing him more tender of the interest of his 
order than that of truth, to avoid such a tempting 
opportunity as a supposed case of possession offered, 
for displaying the high privilege in which his pro- 
fession made him a partaker, or to abstain from con- 
niving at the imposture, in order to obtain for his 
church the credit of expelling the demon. It was 
hardly to be wondered at, if the ecclesiastic was 
sometimes induced to aid the fraud of which such 
motives forbade him to be the detecter. At this he 
might hesitate the less, as he was not obliged to 
adopt the suspected and degrading course of holding 
an immediate communication in limine with the im- 
postor, since a hint or two, dropped in the supposed 
sufferer's presence, might give him the necessary 
information what was the most exact mode of per- 
forming his part, and if the patient was possessed 
by a devil of any acuteness or dexterity, he wanted 
no farther instruction how to play it. Such combi- 
nations were sometimes detected, and brought more 
discredit on the Church of Rome than was counter- 
balanced by any which might be more cunningly 
managed. On this subject, the reader may turn to 
Dr. Harsnett's celebrated book on Popish Impos- 
tures, wherein he gives the history of several noto- 
rious cases of detected fraud, in which Roman eccle- 



202 LETTERS ON 

siastics had not hesitated to mingle themselves. 
That of Grace Sowerbutts, instructed by a Catholic 
priest to impeach her grandmother of witchcraft, 
was a very gross fraud. 

Such cases were not, however, limited to the eccle- 
siastics of Rome. We have already stated, that, as 
extremes usually approach each other, the Dis- 
senters, in their viulent opposition to the Papists, 
adopted some of their ideas respecting demoniacs; 
and, we have now to add, that they also claimed, 
by the vehemence of prayer, and the authority of 
their own sacred commission, that power of expel- 
ling devils, which the Church of Rome pretended 
to exercise by rites, ceremonies, and relics. The 
memorable case of Richard Dugdale, called the Sur- 
rey Impostor, was one of the most remarkable 
which the Dissenters brought forward. This youth 
was supposed to have sold his soul to the Devil on 
condition of being made the best dancer in Lanca- 
shire, and during his possession played a number of 
fantastic tricks, not much different from those ex- 
hibited by expert posture-masters of the present 
day. This person threw himself into the hands of 
the Dissenters, who, in their eagerness, caught at an 
opportunity to relieve an afflicted person, whose case 
the regular clergy appeared to have neglected. 
They fixed a committee of their number, who 
weekly attended the supposed sufferer, and exercised 
themselves in appointed days of humiliation and 
fasting, during the course of a whole year. All re- 
spect for the demon seems to have abandoned the 
reverend gentlemen, after they had relieved guard 
in this manner for some little time, and they got so 
regardless of Satan as to taunt him with the mode in 
which he executed his promise to teach his vassal 
dancing. The following specimen of raillery is 
worth commemoration : — " "What, Satan ! is this the 
dancing that Richard gave himself to thee for 1 &c. 
Canst thou dance no better? &c. Ransack the old 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 203 

records of all past times and places in thy memory : 
canst thon not there find out some better way of 
trampling 1 Pump thine invention dry : cannot the 
universal seed-plot of subtle wiles and stratagems 
spring up one new method of cutting capers ? Is 
this the top of skill and pride, to shuffle feet and 
brandish knees thus, and to trip like a doe, and skip 
like a squirrel 1 And wherein differ thy leapings from 
the hoppings of a frog, or the bouncings of a goat, 
or friskings of a dog, or gesticulations of a monkey 1 
And cannot a palsy shake such a loose leg as that 1 
Dost thou not twirl like a calf that hath the turn, 
and twitch up thy houghs just like a springhault 
tit ?"* One might almost conceive the demon re- 
plying to this raillery in the words of Dr. Johnson, 
" This merriment of parsons is extremely offen- 
sive." 

The Dissenters were probably too honest, however 
simple, to achieve a complete cure on Dugdale by 
an amicable understanding; so, after their year of 
vigil, they relinquished their task by degrees. Dug- 
dale, weary of his illness, which now attracted little 
notice, attended a regular physician, and was cured 
of that part of his disease which was not affected, 
in a regular way, par ordonnance du mid&cin. But 
the reverend gentlemen who had taken his case in 
hand still assumed the credit of curing him, and if 
any thing could have induced them to sing Te Deum, 
it would have been this occasion. They said that 
the effect of their public prayers had been for a time 
suspended, until seconded by the continued earnest- 
ness of their private devotions ! ! 

The ministeis of the Church of England, though, 
from education, intercourse with the world, and 
other advantages, they were less prone to prejudice 
th \n those of other sects, are yet far from being 
en 'rely free of the charge of encouraging in 

• Hutchison on Witchcraft, p. 162, 



204 LETTERS ON 

particular instances the witch superstition. Even 
while Dr. Hutchison pleads that the Church of 
England has the least to answer for in that matter, 
he is under the necessity of acknowledging, that 
some regular country clergymen so far shared the 
rooted prejudices of congregations, and of the go- 
vernment which established laws against it, as to be 
active in the persecution of the suspected, and even 
in countenancing the superstitious signs by which 
in that period the vulgar thought it possible to ascer- 
tain the existence of the afflictions by witchcraft,, 
and obtain the knowledge of the perpetrator. A sin-, 
gular case is mentioned of three women, called the 
Witches of Warbois. Indeed, their story is a mat- 
ter of solemn enough record ; for Sir Samuel Crom- 
well, having received the sum of forty pounds as 
lord of the manor, out of the estate of the poor per 
sons who suffered, turned it into a rent charge ol 
forty shillings yearly, for the endowment of an an-, 
nual lecture on the subject of witchcraft, to be 
preached by a doctor or bachelor of divinity of I 
Queen's College, Cambridge. The accused, onei 
Samuel and his wife, were old, and very poor per- 
sons, and their daughter a young woman. The 
daughter of a Mr. Throgmorton, seeing the poor old 
woman in a black knitted cap, at a time when she 
was not very well, took a whim that she had be-, 
witched her, and was ever after exclaiming against 
her. The other children of this fanciful family, 
caught up the same cry, and the eldest of them at 
last got up a vastly pretty drama, in which she her- 
self furnished all the scenes, and played all the 
parts. 

Such imaginary scenes, or make-believe stories, are 
the common amusement of lively children; and 
most readers may remember having had some Utopia 
of their own. But. the nursery drama of Miss 
Throgmorton had a horrible conclusion. This young 
lady and her sisters were supposed to be haunted by 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 205 

nine spirits, despatched by the wicked Mother Samuel 
Ifor that purpose. The sapient parents heard one 
part of the dialogue, when the children in their fits 
'returned answers, as was supposed, to the spirits 
'who afflicted them ; and when the patients from time 
to time recovered, they furnished the counterpart 
by telling what the spirits had said to them. The 
names of the spirits were Pluck, Hardname, Catch, 
Blue, ard three Smacks, who were cousins. Mrs. 
Joan Throgmorton, the eldest (who, like other 
young women of her age, about fifteen, had some 
disease on her nerves, and whose fancy ran appa- 
rently on love and gallantry), supposed that one of 
'the Smacks was her lover, did battle for her with the 
less friendly spirits, and promised to protect her 
against Mother Samuel herself; and the following 
curious extract will show on Avhat a footing of fa- 
miliarity the damsel stood with her spiritual gallant ; 
"'From whence come you, Mr. Smack]' says the 
afflicted young lady ; ' and what news do you bring? 
Smack, nothing abashed, informed her he came from 
fighting with Pluck : the weapons, great cowl-staves, 
— the scene, a ruinous bakehouse in Dame Samuel's 
yard. 'And who got the mastery, I pray^you?' said 
the damsel. Smack answered, he had broken Pluck's 
head. ' I would,' said the damsel, ' he had broken 
your neck also.' — ' Is that the thanks I am to have 
for my labour ?' said the disappointed Smack. ' Look 
you for thanks at my hand?' said the distressed 
maiden. ' I would you were all hanged up against 
each other, with your dame for company, for you 
are all naught.' " On this repulse, exit Smack, and 
enter Pluck, Blue, and Catch, the first with his head 
broken, the other limping, and the third with his arm 
in a sling, all trophies of Smack's victory. They 
disappeared, after having threatened vengeance upon 
the conquering Smack. However, he soon after- 
ward appeared with his laurels. He told her of his 
various conflicts. " ' I wonder,' said Mrs. Joan, 01 
S 






206 LETTERS ON 

Jane, ' that you are able to beat them ; you are little, 
and they very big.'— 'He cared not for that,' he re- 
plied; ' he would beat the best two of them, and his 
cousins Smacks would beat the other two.' " This, 
most pitiful mirth, for such it certainly is, was mixed 
with tragedy enough. Miss Throgmorton and her 
sisters railed against Dame Samuel; and when Mr. ; 
Throgmorton brought her to his house by force, the - 
little fiends longed to draw blood of her, scratch her, 
and torture her, as the witch-creed of that period re- 
commended ; yet the poor woman incurred deeper 
suspicion when she expressed a wish to leave a house i 
where she was so coarsely treated, and lay under 
such odious suspicions. 

It was in vain that this unhappy creature endea- 
voured to avert their resentment, by submitting to all 
the ill usage they chose to put upon her; in vain 
that she underwent, unresistingly, the worst usage 
at the hand of Lady Cromwell, her landlady, who, 
abusing her with the worst epithets, tore her cap from 
her head, clipped out some of her hair, and gave it to 
Mrs. Throgmorton, to burn it for a counter-charm. 
Nay, Mother Samuel's complaisance in the latter 
case only led to a new charge. It happened that the 
Lady Cromwell, on her return home, dreamed of her 
day's work, and especially of the old dame and her 
cat ; and as her ladyship died in a year and quarter 
from that very day, it was sagaciously concluded 
that she must have fallen a victim to the witcheries 
of the terrible Dame Samuel. Mr. Throgmorton 
also compelled the old woman and her daughter to 
use expressions which put their lives in the power 
of these malignant children, who had carried on the 
farce so Ion? that they could not well escape from 
their own web of deceit but by the death of these 
helpless creatures : for example, the prisoner, Dame 
Samuel, was induced to say to the supposed spirit, 
" As 1 am a witch, and a causer of Lady Cromwell's 
death, I charge thee to come out of the maiden." 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 207 

iThe girl lay still ; and this was accounted a proof 
that the poor woman, who, only subdued and crushed 
by terror and tyranny, did as she was bidden, was a 
Switch. One is ashamed of an English judge and 
jury, when it must be repeated, that the evidence of 
these enthusiastic and giddy-pated girls was deemed 
sufficient to the condemnation of three innocent per- 
sons. Goody Samuel, indeed, was at length worried 
into a confession of her guilt, by the various vexations 
which were practised on her. But her husband and 
daughter continued to maintain their innocence. 
The last showed a high spiiit, and proud value for 
'her character. She was advised by some, who 
pitied her youth, to gain at least a respite by plead- 
ing pregnancy ; to which she answered disdainfully, 
" No, I will not be both held witch and strumpet !" 
The mother, to show her sanity of mind, and the 
real value of her confession, caught at the advice re- 
commended to her daughter. As her years put such 
a plea out of the question, there was a laugh among 
the unfeeling audience, in which the poor old victim 
joined loudly and heartily. Some there were who 
thought it no joking matter, and were inclined to 
think they had a Joanna Southcote before them, and 
that the Devil must be the father. These unfortunate 
Samuels were condemned at Huntingdon, before Mr. 
Justice Fenner, 4th April, 1593. It was a singular 
case to be commemorated by an annual lecture, as 
provided by Sir Samuel Cromwell ; for the purposes 
of Justice were never so perverted, nor her sword 
turned to a more flagrant murder. 

We may here mention, though mainly for the sake 
of contrast, the much-disputed case of Jane Wenham, 
the witch of Walkerne, as she was termed ; which 
was of a much later date. Some of the country 
clergy were carried away by the landflood of super- 
stition in this instance also, and not only encouraged 
the charge, but gave their countenance to some of 
the ridiculous and indecent tricks resorted to as 



208 LETTERS ON 

proofs of witchcraft by the lowest vulgar. But the 
good sense of the judge, seconded by that of other 
reflecting and sensible persons, saved the country 
from the ultimate disgrace attendant on too many of 
these unhallowed trials. The usual sort of evidence 
was brought against this poor woman, by pretences 
of bewitched persons vomiting fire ; a trick very 
easy to those who chose to exhibit such a piece of 
juo-glery, among such as rather desire to be taken in 
by h, than to detect the imposture. The witchfinder 
practised upon her the most vulgar and ridiculous 
tricks, or charms ; and out of a perverted examina- 
tion, they drew what they called a confession, though 
of a forced and mutilated character. Under such 
proof the jury brought her in guilty, and she was 
necessarily condemned to die. More fortunate, how- 
ever, than many persons placed in the like circum- 
stances, Jane Wenham was tried before a sensible 
and philosophic judge, who could not understand that 
the -life of an Englishwoman, however mean, should 
be taken away by a set of barbarous tricks and ex- 
periments, the efficacy of which depended on popular 
credulity. He reprieved the witch before he left the 
assize town. The rest of the history is equally a 
contrast to some we have told, and others we shall 
have to recount. A humane and high-spirited gen- 
tleman, Colonel Plummer of Gilston, putting at defi- 
ance popular calumny, placed the poor old woman 
in a small house near his own, and under his mime 
diate protection. Here she lived and died, in honest 
and fair reputation, edifying her visiteis by her ac- 
curacv and attention in repeating her devotions ; and, 
removed from her brutal and malignant neighbours, 
never afterward gave the slightest cause of suspicion 
or offence till her dying day. As this was one of 
the last cases of conviction in England, Dr. Hutchi- 
son has been led to dilate upon it with some strength 
of eloquence as well as argument. 

He thus expostulates with some of the better 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 209 

class that were eager for the prosecution : — " 1. 
What single fact of sorcery did this Jane Wenham 
do ] What charm did she use, or what act of witch- 
craft could you prove upon her'? Laws are against 
evil actions, that can be proved to be of the person's 
doing — What single fact that was against the statute 
could you fix upon her ? I ask, 2. Did she so much 
as speak an imprudent word, or do an immoral ac- 
tion, that you could put into the narrative of her case 1 
When she was denied a few turnips, she laid them 
down very submissively — when she was called witch, 
and bitch, she only took the proper means for the 
vindication of her good name — when she saw this 
storm coming upon her, she lock'd herself in her 
own house, and tried to keep herself out of your 
cruel hands — When her door was broken open, and 
you gave way to that barbarous usage that she met 
with, she protested her innocence, fell upon her 
knees, and begg'd she might not go to jail, and, in 
her innocent simplicity, would have let you swim 
her; and at her tryal, she declar'd herself a clear 
woman. This was her behaviour ; and what could 
any of us have done better, excepting in that case 
where she comply'd with you too much, and offered 
to let you swim her 1 

"3. When you used the meanest of paganish 
and popish superstitions — when you scratched, and 
mangled, and ran pins into her flesh, and used that 
ridiculous tryal of the bottle, &c. — whom did you 
consult — and from whom did you expect your an- 
swers 1 who was your father — and into whose hands 
did you put yourselves 1 and if the true sense of 
the statute had been turn'd upon you, which way 
would you have defended yourselves 1 4. Durst 
you have used her in this manner if she had been 
rich ; and doth not her poverty increase rather than 
lessen your guilt in what you did 1 

"And therefore, instead of closing your book with 
aliberavimus animas nostras, and reflecting upon the 
S 2 



210 LETTERS ON 

court, I ask you, 5. Whether you have not more reasoi 
to give God thanks that you met with a wise judge 
and a sensible gentleman, who kept you from shed 
ding innocent blood, and reviving the meanest an. 
cruelest of all superstitions among us ?"* 

But although individuals of the English church 
might, on some occasions, be justly accused of falling 
into lamentable errors on a subject where error was 
so general, it was not a usuai point of their pro- 
fessional character; and it must be admitted, that the 
most severe of the laws against witchcraft originated 
with a Scottish King of England ; and that the onlv 
extensive persecution following that statute, occurred ! 
during the time of the Civil Wars, when the Cal-| 
vinists obtained, for a short period, a predominating 
influence in the councils of Parliament. 

James succeeded to Elizabeth amid the highest 1 
expectations on the part of his new people, who, : 
besides their general satisfaction at coming once 
more under the rule of a kin?, were also proud of 
his supposed abilities and real knowledge of books 
and languages, and were naturallv, though impru- 
dently, disposed to gratify him by deferring to his 
judgment in matters wherein his studies were sup- 
posed to have rendered him a special proficient. 
Unfortunately, besides the more harmless freak of 
becoming a Prentice in the art of Poetry, by which 
words and numbers were the only sufferers, the mo- 
narch had composed a deep work upon Demonology, 
embracing, in their fullest extent, the most absurd 
and gross of the popular errors on this subject. He 
considered his crown and life as habitually aimed at 
by the sworn slaves of Satan. Several had been ex- 
ecuted for an attempt to poison him by magical arts ; 
and the turbulent Francis Stewart, Earl of Bothwell,' 
whose repeated attempts on Ins person had long been 
James's tenor, had begun his course of rebellion by 

* Hutchison's Essay on Witchcraft, p. 1 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 211 

a consultation with the weird sisters and soothsayers. 
Thus the king, who had proved with his pen the 
supposed sorcerers to be the direct enemies of the 
Deity, and who conceived he knew them from expe- 
rience to be his own, who, moreover, had, upon much 
lighter occasions (as in the case of Vorstius), showed 
no hesitation at throwing his royal authority into the 
scale to aid his arguments, very naturally u a ed his 
influence when it was at the highest, to extend and 
enforce the laws against a crime which he both hated 
and feared. 

The English statute against witchcraft, passed in 
the very first year of that reign, is therefore of a 
most special nature, describing witchcraft by all the 
various modes and ceremonies in which, according- to 
King James's fancy, that crime could be perpetrated ; 
each of which was declared felony, without benefit 
of clergy. 

This gave much wider scope to prosecution on 
the statute than had existed under the milder acts of 
Elizabeth. Men might now be punished for the 
practice of witchcraft, as itself a crime, without 
necessaiy reference to the ulterior objects of the 
perpetrator. It is remarkable, that in the same year, 
when the legislature rather adopted the passions and 
fears of the king, than expressed their own, by this 
fatal enactment, the Convocation of the Church 
evinced a very different spirit ; for, seeing the ridi- 
cule brought on their sacred profession by forward 
and presumptuous men, in the attempt to relieve 
demoniacs from a disease which was commonly oc- 
casioned by natural causes, if not the mere cieature 
of imposture, they passed a canon, establishing that 
no min ster or ministers should in future attempt to 
expel any devil or devils, without the license of his 
bishop ; thereby virtually putting a stop to a fertile 
source of knavery among the people, and disgraceful 
/oily among the inferior churchmen. 

The new statute of James does not, however, appear 



212 LETTERS ON 

to have led at first to many prosecutions. One of 
the most remarkable was (proh pudor!) instigated 
by a gentleman, a scholar of classical taste, and a; 
beautiful poet, being no other than Edward Fairfax,' 
of Fayston, in Knaresborough Forest, the translator! 
of Tasso's "Jerusalem Delivered." In allusion to. 
his credulity on such subjects, Collins has introduced!; 
the following elegant lines : 

" How have I sate while piped the pensive wind, 
To hear thy harp, by British Fairfax strung; 
Prevailing poet, whose undoubting mind 
Believed the magic wonders which he sung !" 

Like Mr. Throgmorton in the Warbois case, Mr, 
Fairfax accused six of his neighbours of tormenting! 
his children by fits of an extraordinary kind, by imps, I 
and by appearing before the afflicted in their own shape I 
during the crisis of these operations. The admitting; 
this last circumstance to be a legitimate mode of 
proof, gave a most cruel advantage against the 
accused, for it could not, according to the ideas of 
the demonologists, be confuted even by the most: 
distinct alibi. To a defence of that sort, it was ; 
replied, that the afflicted person did not see the actual 
witch, whose corporeal presence must indeed have 
been obvious to every one in the room as well as to the 
afflicted, but that the evidence of the sufferers related; 
to the appearance of their spectre, or apparition ; and 
this was accounted a sure sign of guilt in those whosei 
forms were so manifested during the fits of the' 
afflicted, and who were complained of and cried out 
upon by the victim. The obvious tendency of this 
doctrine, as to visionary or spectral evidence, as it 
was called, was to place the life and fame of the; 
accused in the power of any hypochondriac patient 
or malignant impostor, who might either seem to see, 
or aver she saw, the spectrum of the accused old man, 
or old woman, as if enjoying and urging on the 
afflictions which she complained of; and, strange to 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 213 

;11, the fatal sentence was to rest not upon the truth 
f the witnesses' eyes, but that of their imagina- 
on. It happened fortunately for Fairfax's memo- 
ir, that the objects of his prosecution Avere persons 
f good character, and that the judge was a man 
f sense, and made so wise and skilful a charge to 
le jury, that they brought in a verdict of Not 

laity- . , „ 

The celebrated case of " the Lancashire witches 
vhose name was, and will be, long remembered, 
artly from ShadwelPs play, but more from the in- 
enious and well-merited compliment to the beauty 
f the females of that province, which it was held to 
awtain) followed soon after. Whether the first no- 
ce of this sorcery sprung from the idle head of a 
lischievous boy, is uncertain; but there is no doubt 
lat it was speedily caught up and fostered for the 
urpose of gain. The original story ran thus : 
These Lancaster trials were at two periods, the 
ne in 1613, before Sir James Altham and Sir Ed- 
/ard Bromley, Barons of Exchequer, when nineteen 
fitches were tried at once at Lancaster, and another 
f the name of Preston, at York. The report against 
,iese people is drawn up by Thomas Potts. An 
bliging correspondent sent me a sight of a copy of 
his curious and rare book. The chief personage in 
tie drama is Elizabeth Southam, a witch redoubted 
nder the name of Dembdike, an account of whom 
lay be seen in Mr. Roby's Antiquities of Lancaster, 
s well as a description of Manikins' Tower, the 
(itches' place of meeting. It appears that this re- 
note country was full of Popish recusants, travelling 
iriests, and" so forth ; and some of their spells are 
,iven, in which the holy names and things alluded to 
orm a strange contrast with the purpose to which 
hey were applied, as to secure a good brewing of 
lie or the like. The public imputed to the accused 
)arties a long train of murders, conspiracies, charms, 
Mischances, hellish and damnable practices, "ap- 



214 LETTERS ON 

parent," says the editor, " on their own examinations 
and confessions," and to speak the truth, visible no- ; 
where else. Mother Dembdike had the good luck to 
die before conviction. Among other tales, we have* 
one of two female devils, called Fancy and Tib. It 
is remarkable that some of the unfortunate women 
endeavoured to transfer the guilt from themselves to 1 ' 
others with whom they had old quarrels, which con-' 
fessions were held good evidence against those who' 
made them, and against the alleged accomplice also.' 
Several of the unhappy women were found Not Guil-i 
ty, to the great displeasure of the ignorant people 
of the county. Such was the first edition of the, 
Lancashire witches. In that which follows, the ac-': 
cusation can be more clearly traced to the most vil-i 
lanous conspiracy. 

About 1634, a boy called Edmund Robinson, whose' 
father, a very poor man, dwelt in Pendle Forest, the I 
scene of the alleged witching, declared, that while 
gathering bullets (wild plums, perhaps), in one of thel 
slades oif the forest, he saw two greyhounds, whichi 
he imagined to belong to gentlemen in that neigh-| 
bourhood. The boy reported that, seeing nobody' 
following them, he proposed to have a course ; but: 
though a hare was started, the dogs refused to run. 1 ' 
On this, young Robinson was about to punish them 1 
with a switch, when one Dame Dickenson, a neigh-'; 
hour's wife, started up instead of the one greyhound; 
a little boy instead of the other. The witness aver- ! i 
red, that Mother Dickenson offered him money to 
conceal what he had seen, which he refused, saying 
"Nay, thou art a witch." Apparently, she was de-i 
termined he should have full evidence of the truth of ' 
what he said, for, like the Magician Queen in thei 
Arabian Tales, she pulled out of her pocket a bridle, 
and shook, it over the head of the boy who had so 
lately represented the other greyhound. He was di-j 
rectly changed into a horse ; Mother Dickenson i 
mounted, and took Robinson before her. They then 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 215 

)de to a large house, or barn, called Hourstoun, into 
drich Edmund Robinson entered with others. He 
jiere saw six or seven persons pulling at halters, 
•om which, as they pulled them, meat ready dressed 
,ame flying- in quantities, together with lumps of 
tatter, porringers of milk, and whatever else might, 
ii the boy's fancy, complete a rustic feast. He de- 
lared, that while engaged in the charm, they made 
uch ugly faces, and looked so fiendish, that he was 
•ightened. There was more to the same purpose- 
's the boy's having seen one of th^se hags sitting 
lalf way up his fathers chimney, and some such 
oodly matter. But it ended in near a score of per- 
sons being committed to prison ; and the consequence 
7as, that young Robinson was carried from church 
3 church in the neighbourhood, that he might re- 
cognise the faces of any persons he had seen at the 
Rendezvous of witches. Old Robinson, who had been 
En evidence against the former witches in 1613, went 
long with his son, and knew, doubtless, how to 
■nake his journey profitable ; and his son probably 
ook care to recognise none who might make a hand- 
■;ome consideration. "This boy," says Webster, 
•' was brought into the Church of Kildwick, a parish 
Church, where I, being then curate there, was preach- 
ng at the time, to look about him, which made some 
tittle disturbance for the time." After prayers, Mr. 
Webster sought and found the boy, and two very un- 
likely persons, who, says he, " did conduct him and 
jmanage the business; I did desire some discourse 
with the boy in private, but that they utterly denied. 
In the presence of a great many people, I took the 
boy near me, and said, ' Good boy, tell me truly, and in 
•earnest, didst thou hear and see such strange things 
of the motions of the witches, as many do report 
that thou didst relate, or did not some person teach 
thee to say such things of thyself V But the two men 
did pluck the boy from me, and said he had been ex- 
amined by two able justices of peace, and they never 



216 LETTERS ON 

asked him such a question. To whom I replie. 
' The persons accused had the more wrong.' " Tr. 
boy afterward acknowledged, in his more advance 
years, that he was instructed and suborned to swef 
these things against the accused persons, by his f; 
ther and others, and was heard often to confess, tm 
on the day which he pretended to see the sai 
witches at the house, or barn, he was gathering plum 
in a neighbour's orchard.* 

There was now approaching a time, when the la\ 
against witchcraft, sufficiently bloody in itself, wa 
to be pushed to more violent extremities than th 
quiet skepticism of the Church of England clerg 
gave way to. The great Civil War had been pre 
ceded and anticipated by the fierce disputes of the ec 
clesiastical parties. The rash and ill-judged attemp I 
to enforce upon the Scottish a compliance with th 
government and ceremonies of the High Church di 
vines, and the severe prosecutions in the Star Cham 
ber and Prerogative Courts, had given the Presbyte 
rian system for a season a great degree of popularity i 
in England; and as the king's party declined during 
the Civil War, and the state of church-governmen I 
was altered, the influence of the Calvinistical divines! 
increased. With much strict morality and pure prac-j 
tice of religion, it is to be regretted these were still 
marked by unhesitating belief in the existence of sor- 
eery, and a keen desire to extend and enforce the le- 
gal penalties against it. Wier has considered the 
clergy of every sect as being too eager in this spe-i 
cies of persecution : Ad gravem hanc impietatem, con- 
nivent theologi plerique omnes. But it is not to be 
denied that the Presbyterian ecclesiastics, who, in 
Scotland, were often appointed by the Privy Council- 
commissioners for the trial of witchcraft, evinced a 
very extraordinary degree of credulity in such cases, 
and that the temporary superiority of the same sect 

* Webster on Witchcraft edition 1677, p. 278. 



DEMONOLOGV AND WITCHCRAFT. 217 

J in England was marked by enormous cruellies o f 
jthis kind. To this general error we must impute the 
' 'misfortune, that good men, such as Calamy and Bax- 
■ jter, should have countenanced or defended such pro- 
' ceedings as those of the impudent and cruel wretch 
called Matthew Hopkins, who, in those unsettled 
times, when men did what seemed good in their own 
: eyes, assumed the title of Witchfinder General, and 
travelling through the counties of Essex, Sussex, 
J iNorfolk, and Huntingdon, pretended to discover 
''■ 'witches, superintending their examination by the 
'most unheard-of tortures, and compelling forlorn and 
'. miserable wretches to admit and confess matters 
: Equally absurd and impossible; the issue of which was 
: the forfeiture of their lives. Before examining these 
♦bases more minutely, I will quote Baxter's own 
Rrords; for no one can have less desire to wrong a 
•devout and conscientious man, such as that divine 
| nost unquestionably was, though borne aside on this 
Occasion by prejudice and credulity. 
1 " The hanging of a great number of witches in 
:1645 and 1646 is famously known. Mr. Calamy 
jwent along with the judges on the circuit, to hear 
(their confessions, and see there was no fraud or 
\ wrong done them. I spoke with many understand- 
f ing, pious, learned, and credible persons, that lived 
\ in the counties, and some that went to them in the 
\ prisons, and heard their sad confessions. Among 
I the rest, an old reading parson, named Lowis, not 
[far from Framlingham, was one that was hanged, 
who confessed that he had two imps, and thai, one 
I of them was always putting him upon doing mis- 
| chief; and he being near the sea, as he saw a ship 
! under sail, it moved him to send it to sink the ship ; 
land he consented, and saw the ship sink before 
1 them." Mr. Baxter passes on to another story of a 
mother, who gave her child an imp like a mole, and 
told her to keep it in a can near the fire, and she 
T 



218 LETTERS ON 



would never want ; and more such stuff as nursery 
maids tell froward children to keep them quiet. 

It is remarkable that, in this passage, Baxter 
names the Witchfinder General rather slightly, as, 
"one Hopkins," and without doing him the justice 
due to one who had discovered more than one hun- 
dred witches, and brought them to confessions which 
that good man received as indubitable. Perhaps 
the learned divine was one of those who believed 
that the Witchfinder General had cheated the Devil 
out of a certain memorandum-book, in which Satan, 
for the benefit of his memory certainly, had entered 
all the witches 1 names in England, and that Hopkins 
availed himself of this record.* 

It may be noticed, that times of misrule and vio- 
lence seem to create individuals fitted to take ad- 
vantage from them, and having a character suited to 
the seasons which raise them into notice and action; 
just as a blight on any tree or vegetable calls to life 
a peculiar insect to feed upon and enjoy the decay 
which it has produced. A monster like Hopkins 
could only have existed during the confusion of 
civil dissension. He was, perhaps, a native of 
Manningtree, in Essex ; at any rate, he resided there 
in the year 1644, when an epidemic outcry of witch- 
craft arose in that town. Upon this occasion he 
had made himself busy, and affecting more zeal and 
knowledge than other men, learned his trade of a 
witchfinder, as he pretends, from experiment. Ho 
was afterward permitted to perform it as a legal 
profession, and moved from one place to another, 
with an assistant named Sterne, and a female. In 

* This reproach is noticed in a very rare tract, which was bought at 
Mr. Lort's sale, by the celebrated collector Mr. Bindley, and is now in 
the author's possession. Its full title is, "The Discovery of Witches. 
in Answer to several Queries lately delivered to the Judge of Assize for 
the County of Norfolk; and now published by Matthew Hopkins, 
Witchfinder, for the Benefit of the whole Kingdom. Printed for R. 
Royston, at the Angel, in Inn Lane. 1647." 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 219 

his defence against an accusation of fleecing the 
country, he declares his regular charge was twenty 
[shillings a town, including charges of living, and 
journeying thither and back again with his as- 
sistants. He also affirms, that he went nowhere 
I unless called and invited. His principal mode of 
I discovery was, to strip the accused persons naked, 
> and thrust pins into various parts of their body, to 
; discover the witch's mark, which was supposed to 
be inflicted by the Devil, as a sign of his sovereignty, 
and at which she was also said to suckle her imps. 
1 He also practised and stoutly defended the trial by 
■ swimming, when the suspected person was wrapped 
i 1 in a sheet, having the great toes and thumbs tied 
together, and so dragged through a pond or river. 
[f she sank, it was received in favour of the ac- 
! cused ; but if the body floated (which must have oc- 
curred ten times for once, if it was placed with care 
1 on the surface of the water), the accused was con- 
demned, on the principle of King James, who, in 
treating of this mode of trial, lays down, that as 
witches have renounced their baptism, so it is just 
that the element through which the holy rite is en- 
1 forced, should reject them; which is a figure ot 
1 speech, and no argument. It was Hopkins's custom 
to keep the poor wretches waking, in order to pre- 
vent them from having encouragement from the 
Devil, and, doubtless, to put infirm, terrified, over- 
watched persons in the next state to absolute mad- 
ness; and, for the same purpose, they were dragged 
about by their keepers, till extreme weariness and 
the pain of blistered feet might form additional in- 
ducements to confession. Hopkins confesses these 
last practices of keeping the accused persons waking, 
and forcing them to walk, for the same purpose, had 
been originally used by him. But as his tract is a 
professed answer to charges of cruelty and oppres- 
sion, he affirms that both practices were then dis- 
used, and that they had not of late been resorted to. 



220 LETTERS ON 

The boast of the English nation is a manly inde- 
pendence and common sense, which will not long 
permit the license of tyranny or oppression on the 
meanest and most obscure sufferers. Many clergy- 
men and gentlemen made head against the practices 
of this cruel oppressor of i,Ue defenceless, and it re- 
quired courage to do so, when such an unscrupulous 
villain had so much interest. 

Mr. Gaul, a clergyman of Houghton in Hunting- 
donshire, had the courage to appear in print on the 
weaker side ; and Hopkins, in consequence, assumed 
the assurance to write to some functionaries of the 
place the following letter, which is an admirable 
medley of impudence, bullying, and cowardice : — 

" My service to your worship presented. — I have 
this day received a letter to come to a town called 
Great Houghton, to search for evil disposed persons 
called witches (though I hear your minister is far 
against us, through ignorance). I intend to come, 
God willing, the sooner to hear his singular judg- 
ment in the behalf of such parties. I have known 
a minister in Suffolk, as much against this discovery 
in a pulpit, and forced to recant it by the Com- 
mittee,* in the same place. I much marvel such 
evil men should have any (much more any of the 
clergy, who should daily speak terror to convince 
such offenders) stand up to take their parts against 
such as are complainants for the king, and sufferers 
themselves, with their families and estates. I in- 
tend to give your town a visit suddenly. I will 
come to Kimbolton this week, and it will be ten to 
one but I will come to your town first ; but I would 
certainly know before, whether your town affords 
many sticklers for such cattle, or is willing to give 
and allow us good welcome and entertainment, as 
others where I have been, else I shall waive your 
shire (not as yet beginning in any part of it myself), 

* Of Parliament. 



DEMONOLtKJY AND WITCHCRAFT. 221 

and betake me to such places where I do and may- 
punish (not only) without control, but with thanks 
and recompense. So I humbly take my leave, and 
rest your servant to be commanded, 

" Matthew Hopkins." 

I The sensible and courageous Mr. Gaul describes 
the tortures employed by this fellow as equal to any 
'practised in the Inquisition. "Having taken the 
suspected witch, she is placed in the middle of a 
room, upon a stool or table, cross-legged, or in some 
other uneasy posture, to which, if she submits not, 
ishe is then bound with cords ; there she is watched, 
and kept without meat or sleep for four-and-twenty 
hours, for they say, they shall within that time see 
her imp come and suck. A little hole is likewise 
made in the door for the imps to come in at ; and 
lest they should come in some less discernible shape, 
they that watch are taught to be ever and anon 
sweeping the room ; and if they see any spiders or 
flies to kill them, and if they cannot kill them, they 
may be sure they are their imps." 

If torture of this kind was applied to the Reverend 
Mr. Lewis, whose death is too slightly announced 
by Mr. Baxter, we can conceive him, or any man, 
to have indeed become so weary of his life as to ac- 
knowledge, that by means of his imps, he sunk a 
vessel, without any purpose of gratification to be 
procured to himself by such iniquity. But in ano- 
ther cause, a judge would have demanded some 
proof of the corpus delicti, some evidence of a vessel 
being lost at the period, whence coming and whither 
bound ; in short, something to establish that the 
whole story was not the idle imagination of a man 
who might have been entirely deranged, and certainly 
was so at the time he made the admission. John Lewis 
was presented to the Vicarage of Brandiston, near 
Framlington in Suffolk, 6th of May, 1596, where he 
lived about fifty years, till executed as a wizard, ok 
T2 



222 LETTERS ON 

such evidence as we have seen. Notwithstanding 
the story of his alleged confession, he defended him- 
self courageously at his trial, and was probably con- 
demned rather as a royalist and malignant, than for 
any other cause. He showed at the execution con- 
siderable energy, and to secure that the funeral ser- 
vice of the church should be said over his body, he 
read it aloud for himself while on the road to the 
gibbet. 

We have seen that, in 1647, Hopkins' tone became 
lowered, and he began to disavow some of the cruel- 
ties he had formerly practised. About the same 
time, a miserable old woman had fallen into the 
cruel hands of this miscreant near Hoxne, a village 
in Suffolk, and had confessed all the usual enormities, 
after being without food or rest a sufficient time. 
Her imp, she said, was called Nan. A gentleman 
in the neighbourhood, whose widow survived to au- 
thenticate the story, was so indignant, that he went 
to the house, took the woman out of such inhuman 
hands, dismissed the witchfinders, and after due food 
and rest, the poor old woman could recollect nothing 
of the confession, but that she gave a favourite pullet 
the name of Nan. For this Dr. Hutchison may be 
referred to ; who quotes a letter from the relict of the 
humane gentleman. 

In the year 1615, a commission of Parliament was 
sent down, comprehending two clergymen in esteem 
with the leading party, one of whom, Mr. Fairclough 
of Keller, preached before the rest on the subject of 
witchcraft ; and after this appearance of inquiry, the 
inquisitions and executions went on as before. But 
the popular indignation was so strongly excited 
againsc Hopkins, that some gentlemen seized on him, 
and put him to his own favourite experiment of swim- 
ming, on which, as he happened to float, he stood 
convicted of witchcraft, and so the country was rid 
of him. Whether he was drowned outright or not, 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT 223 

does not exactly appear, but he has had the honour 
to be commemorated by the author of Hudibras : — 

" Hatli not this present parliament 
A leiger to the Devil sent, 
Fully empowered to treat about 
Finding revolted witches out 1 
And has he not within a year 
Hang'd threescore of them in one shire 7 
Some only for not being dnnvn'd 
And some for sitting above ground 
Whole days and nights upon their breeches, 
And feeling pain, were hang'd for witches. 
And some for putting knavish tricks 
Upon green geese or turkey chicks; 
Or pigs that suddenly deceased 
Of griefs unnatural, as he guess'd, 
Who proved himself at length a witch, 
And made a rod for his own breech.''* 

The understanding reader will easily conceive, 
that this alteration of the current in favour of those 
who disapproved of witch-prosecutions, must have 
received encouragement from some quarter of weight 
and influence ; yet it may sound strangely enough, 
that this spirit of lenity should have been the result 
of the peculiar principles of those sectarians of all 
denominations, classed in general as Independents, 
who, though they had originally courted the Presby- 
terians as the more numerous and prevailing party, 
had at length shaken themselves loose of that con- 
nexion, and finally combated with and overcome 
them. The Independents were distinguished by the 
wildest license in their religious tenets, mixed with 
much that was nonsensical and mystical. They dis- 
owned even the title of a regular clergy, and allowed 
the preaching of any one who could draw together 
a congregation that would support him, or who 
was willing, without recompense, to minister to the 
spiritual necessities of his hearers. Although such 
laxity of discipline afforded scope to the wildest 
enthusiasm, and room for all possible varieties of 

* Hudibras, part ii. canto 3 



224 LETTERS ON 

doctrine, it had on the other hand, this inestimable 
recommendation, that ii contributed to a degree of 
general toleration which was at that time unknown 1 
to any other Christian establishment. The veryil 
genius of a religion which admitted of the subdivision 
of sects ad infinitum, excluded a legal prosecution of 
any one of these for heresy or apostacy. If there had 
even existed a sect of Manicheans, who made it their 
practice to adore the Evil Principle, it may be 1 * 
doubted whether the other sectaries would have 
accounted them absolute outcasts from the pale of 
the church; and, fortunately, the same sentiment'! 
induced them to regard with horror the prosecutions I 
against witchcraft. Thus the Independents, when'< 
under Cromwell they attained a supremacy over the ( l 
Presbyterians, who to a certain point had been their I 
allies, were disposed to counteract the violence of I 
such proceedings under pretence of witchcraft, as had if 
been driven forward by the wretched Hopkins, injj 
Essex, Norfolk, and Suffolk, for three or four years 3 
previous to 1647. 

The return of Charles II. to his crown and king- 
dom, served in some measure to restrain the general I 
and wholesale manner in which the laws against' 
witchcraft had been administered during the warmth 
of the civil war. The statute of the 1st of King 1 
James, nevertheless, yet subsisted ; nor is it in the I 
least likely, considering the character of the prince, I 
that he, to save the lives of a few old men and women, I 
would have run the risk of incurring the odium of I 
encouraging or sparing a crime still held in horror I 
by a great part of his subjects. The statute, how- * 
ever, was generally administered by wise and skilful ii 
judges, and the accused had such a chance of escape 
as the rigour of the absurd law permitted. 

Nonsense, it is too obvious, remained in some cases I 
predominant. In the year 1663, an old dame named I 
Julian Coxe, was convicted chiefly on the evidence J 
oi a huntsman, who declared on his oath, that he i 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 225 

aid his greyhounds on a hare, and, coming up to the 
pot where lie saw them mouth her, there he found, 
n the other side of a bush, Julian Coxe lying pant' 
lg and breathless, in such a manner as to convince 
im that she had been the creature which afforded 
,im the course. The unhappy woman was executed 
n this evidence. 

i Two years afterward (1664), it is with regret we 
mst quote the venerable and devout Sir Matthew 
tale, as presiding at a trial, in consequence of which 
my Dunny and Rose Callender were hanged at Saint 
dmondsbury. But no man, unless very peculiarly 
reumstanced, can extricate himself from the preju ■ 
ces of his nation and age. The evidence against 
ie accused was laid, 1st, on the effect of spells used 
7 ignorant persons to counteract the supposed witch- 
•aft ; the use of which was, under the statute of 
nnes I., as criminal as the act of sorcery which 
ich counter-charms were meant to neutralize. 2dly, 
he two old women, refused even the privilege of 
irchasing some herrings, having expressed them- 
lves with angry impatience, a child of the herring- 
erchant fell ill in consequence. 3dly, A cart was 
iven against the miserable cottage of Amy Dunny. 
ie scolded, of course ; and shortly after the cart— 
'hat a good driver will scarcely comprehend)— 
jck fast in a gate where its wheels touched neither 
the posts, and yet was moved easily forward on 
e of the posts (by which it was not impeded) being 
t down. 4thly, One of the afflicted girls, being 
)sely muffled, went suddenly into a fit upon beino- 
ached by one of the supposed Avitches. But, upon 
other trial, it was found that the person so blind- 
ded fell into the same rage at the touch of an unsus- 
eted person. What perhaps sealed the fate of the 
cused, was the evidence of the celebrated Sir 
mmas Browne, " that the fits were natural, but 
lghtened by the power of the Deyil co-operating 
th the malice of witches ;"— a t, range opinion" 



226 LETTERS ON 

certainly, from the author of a treatise on Vulgai 
Errors !* 

But the torch of science was now fairly lighted 
and gleamed in more than one kingdom of the world , 
shooting its rays on every side, and catching at all I 
means which were calculated to increase the illumi- 
nation. The Royal Society, which had taken its 
rise at. Oxford, from a private association, Avho met 
in Dr. Wilkin's chambers about the year 1652, waal 
the year after the Restoration, incorporated by royal | 
charter, and began to publish their Transactions, anc 
give a new and more rational character to the pur-ii 
suits of philosophy. 

In France, where the mere will of the government i 
could accomplish greater changes, the consequence j 
of an enlarged spiri of scientific discovery was, thai 1 
a decisive stop was put to the witch-prosecutions i 
which had heretofore been as common in that king-;(i 
dom as in England. About the year 1672, there was i 
a general arrest of very many shepherds, and others-;i 
in Normandy, and the Parliament of Rouen preparedjl 
to proceed in the investigation with the usual severity! i 
But an order, or arret, from the king (Louis XIVM 
with advice of his council, commanding all these i 
unfortunate persons to be set at liberty and protected,.! 
had the most salutary effects all over the kingdom.;! 
The French Academy of Sciences was also founded:;! 
and, in imitation, a society of learned Germans,; 
established a similar institution at Leipsic. Preju-ji 
dices, however old, were overawed and controlled—, \ 
much was accounted for on natural principles that] 
had hitherto been imputed to spiritual agency— every; 
thing seemed to promise, that farther access to thej 
secrets of nature might be opened to those who: 
should prosecute their studies experimentally and by 
analysis— and the mass of ancient opinions whiclii 
overwhelmed the dark subject of which we treat! 

* See the account of Sir T. Browne, in " Lives of British Physj.] 
cians," p. 60. 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 227 

jegan to be derided and rejected by men of sense and 
education. 

j In many cases the prey was now snatched from 
<;he spoiler. A pragmatical justice of peace in 
Somersetshire, commenced a course of inquiry after 
Offenders against the statute of James I., and had he 
neen allowed to proceed, Mr. Hunt might have gained 
i name as renowned for witch-finding as that of Mr. 
fJopkins ; but his researches were stopped from higher 
luthority— the lives of the poor people arrested 
{twelve in number) were saved, and the country re- 
gained at quiet, though the supposed witches were 
isuffered to live. The examinations attest some 
feurious particulars which may be found in Sudducis- 
mus Triumphatus : for, among the usual string of 
froward, fanciful, or, as they were called, afflicted 
children, brought forward to club their startings, 
starings, and screamings, there appeared also certain 
remarkable confessions of the accused, from which 
toe learn that the Somerset Satan enlisted his witches, 
like a wily recruiting sergeant, with one shilling in 
nand, and twelve in promises; that when the party 
pf weird-sisters passed to the witch-meeting, they 
used the magic words, Thout, tout, throughout, and 
about; and that when they departed, they exclaimed, 
Rentum, Tormentum ! We are farther informed, that 
his Infernal Highness, on his departure, leaves a 
smell, and that (in nursery-maid's phrase) not a pretty 
one, behind him. Concerning this fact we have a 
curious exposition by Mr. Glanville : " This," accord- 
ing to that respectable authority, " seems to imply the 
reality of the business, those ascititious particles which 
he held together in his sensible shape being loosened 
■at his vanishing, and so offending the nostrils by their 
floating and diffusing themselves in the open air."* 
How much we are bound to regret, that Mr. Justice 
Hunt's discovery " of this hellish kind of witches," 

* Glanvillc's Collection of Relations. 



228 LETTERS ON 

in itself so clear and plain, and containing such valu- 
able information, should have been smothered by 
meeting with opposition and discouragement from 
some then in authority ! 

Lord-Keeper Guildford was also a stifler of the 
proceedings against witches. Indeed, we may gene- 
rally remark, during the latter part of the seventeenth 
century, that where the judges were men of educa- 
tion and courage, sharing in the information of the 
times, they were careful to check the precipitate ig- 
norance and prejudice of the juries, by giving them 
a more precise idea of the indifferent value of con- 
fessions by the accused themselves, and of testimony 
derived from the pretended visions of those supposed 
to be bewitched. Where, on the contrary, judges 
shared with the vulgar in their ideas of such fasci- 
nation, or were contented to leave the evidence with 
the jury, fearful to withstand the general cry too 
common on such occasions, a verdict of guilty often 
followed. 

We are informed by Roger North, that a case of 
this kind happened at the assizes in Exeter, where 
his brother, the Lord Chief-Justice, did not interfere 
with the crown trials, and the other judge left for 
execution a poor old woman, condemned, as usual, 
on her own confession, and on the testimony of 
a neighbour, Avho deponed that he saw a cat jump 
into the accused person's cottage window at twilight, 
one evening, and that he verily believed the said cat 
to be the Devil ; on which precious testimony the 
poor wretch Avas accordingly hanged. On another 
occasion, about the same time, the passions of the 
great and little vulgar were so much excited by the 
acquittal of an aged village dame whom the judge 
had taken some pains to rescue, that Sir John Long, 
a man of rank and fortune, came to the judge in the 
greatest perplexity, requesting that the hag might 
not be permitted to return to her miserable cottage 
on his estates, since all his tenants had, in that case,. 



0EMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 



22$ 



threatened to leave him. In compassion to a geti* 
tleman who apprehended ruin from a cause so whim- 
sical, the dangerous old woman was appointed to be 
kept by the town where she was acquitted, at the 
rate of half a crown a-week paid by the parish to 
which she belonged. But, behold! in the period 
between the two assizes, Sir John Long and his 
farmers had mustered courage enough to petition 
that this witcli should be sent back to them in all 
her terrors, because they could support her among 
them at a shilling a-week cheaper than they were 
obliged to pay to the town for her maintenance, in 
a subsequent trial before Lord Chief-Justice North 
himself, that judge detected one of those practices 
which, it is to be feared, were too common at the 
time, when witnesses found their advantage in feign- 
ing themselves bewitched. A woman, supposed to 
be & the victim of the male sorcerer at the bar, vomited 
pins in quantities, and those straight, differing from 
the crooked pins usually produced at such times, 
and less easily concealed in the mouth. The judge,- 
however, discovered, by cross-examining a candid 
witness, that in counterfeiting her fits of convulsion, 
the woman sunk her head on her breast, so as to 
take up with her lips the pins which she had placed 
ready in her stomacher. The man was acquitted, of 
course. A frightful old hag who was present, distin-- 
euished herself so much by her benedictions on the 
mdee, that he asked the cause of the peculiar inte- 
rest which she took in the acquittal. « Twenty years 
a°-o," said the poor woman, " they would have hanged 
me for a witch, but could not ; and now, but for your 
lordship, they would have murdered my innocent 

son."* , ,, . 

Such scenes happened frequently on the assizes, 
While country gentlemen, like the excellent Sir Roger 
de Coverley, retained a private share in the terror wittt 

» Roger NortrTs Life of Lord-Keeper Guilford. 
U 



230 LETTERS ON 

which their tenants, servants, and retainers re4 
garded some old Moll White, who put the hounds 
at fault, and ravaged the fields with hail and hurri-t 
canes. Sir John Reresby, after an account of a pooil 
woman tried for a witch at York, in 1686, and ac-J 
quitted, as he thought, very properly, proceeds to tellj 
us, that, notwithstanding, the sentinel upon the jail 
where she was confined, avowed, " that he saw si 
scroll of paper creep from under the prison-door, ancj 
then change itself first into a monkey, and then intcj 
a turkey, which the under-keeper confirmed. This,'! 
says Sir John, " I have heard from the mouth of both.; 
and now leave it to be believed, or disbelieved, as 
the reader may be inclined."* We may see that 
Reresby, a statesman and a soldier, had not as yet 
" plucked the old woman out of his heart." Even 
Addison himself ventured no farther in his incre-j 
dulity respecting this crime, than to contend, than 
although witchcraft might and did exist, there was 
no such thing as a modern instance competently 
proved. 

As late as 1692, three unhappy women, named 
Susan Edwards, Mary Trembles, and Temperance 
Lloyd, were hanged at Exeter for witchcraft, and, as 
usual, on their own confession. This is believed to 
be the last execution of the kind in England, under 
form of judicial sentence. But the ancient supersti- 
tion, so interesting to vulgar credulity, like sediment 
clearing itself from water, sunk down in a deepei 
shade upon the ignorant and lowest class of society 
in proportion as the higher regions were purified from 
its influence. The populace, including the ignorant 
of every class, were more enraged against witches, 
when their passions were once excited, in proportion 
to the lenity exercised towards the objects of their 
indignation by those who administered the laws. 
Several cases occurred in which the mob, impressed 

* Memoirs of Sir John Reresby, p. 237. 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 231 

with a conviction of the guilt of some destitute old 
creatures, took the law into their own hands, and, 
proceeding upon such evidence as Hopkins would 
have had recourse to, at once, in their own apprehen- 
sion, ascertained their criminality, and administered 
the deserved punishment. 

The following instance of such illegal and inhu- 
man proceedings occurred at Oakly, near Bedford, 
on the 12th July, 1707. There was one woman, up- 
wards of 60 years of age, who, being under an impu- 
tation of witchcraft, was desirous to escape from so 
foul a suspicion, and to conciliate the good-will of 
her neighbours, by allowing them to duck her. The 
parish officers so far consented to their humane expe- 
riment as to promise the poor woman a guinea if she 
should clear herself by sinking. The unfortunate 
object was tied up in a wet sheet, her thumbs and 
great toes were bound together, her cap torn off, and 
all her apparel searched for pins; for there is an idea 
that a single pin spoils the operation of the charm. 
She was then dragged through the river Ouse by a 
rope tied round her middle. Unhappily for the poor 
woman, her body floated, though her head remained 
under water. The experiment was made three times 
with the same effect. The cry to hang or drown the 
witch then became general ; and as she lay half dead 
on the bank, they loaded the wretch with reproaches, 
and hardly forbore blows. A single humane by- 
stander took her part, and exposed himself to rough 
usage for doing so. Luckily, one of the mob them- 
selves at length suggested the additional experiment 
of weighing the witch against the Church Bible. 
The friend of humanity caught at this means of es- 
cape, supporting the proposal by the staggering argu- 
ment, that the Scripture, being the work of God him- 
self, must outweigh necessarily all the operations or 
vassals of the Devil. The reasoning was received 
as conclusive, the more readily as it promised a new 
species of amusement. The woman was theia 



232 LETTERS ON 

weighed against a Church Bible of twelve pound? 
jockey weight, and as she was considerably prepon- 
derant, was dismissed with honour. But many of the 
mob counted her acquittal irregular, and would have 
had the poor dame drowned or hanged on the re- 
sult of her ducking, as the more authentic species 
of trial. 

At length, a similar piece of inhumanity, which 
had a very different conclusion, led to the final aboli- 
tion of the statute of James I., as affording counte- 
nance for such brutal proceedings. An aged pauper,! 
named Osborne, and his wife, who resided nearl 
Tring, in Staffordshire, fell under the suspicion of 
the mob on account of supposed witchcraft. The' 
overseers of the poor, understanding that the rabble 
entertained a purpose of swimming these infirm 
creatures, which indeed they had expressed in a sort 
of proclamation, endeavoured to oppose their purpose 
by securing the unhappy couple in the vestry-room, 
which they barricaded. They were unable, however, 
to protect them in the manner they intended. The 
mob forced the door, seized the accused, and with 
ineffable brutality continued dragging the wretches 
through a pool of water till the woman lost her life. 
A brute in human form, who had superintended the 
murder, went among the spectators, and requested 
money for the sport he had shown them ! The life . 
of the other victim was with great difficulty saved. 
Three men were tried for their share in this inhuman 
action. Only one of them, named Colley, was con-, 
demned and hanged. When he came to execu- 
tion, the rabble, instead of crowding round the gal- 
lows as usual, stood at a distance, and abused those 
who were putting to death, they said, an honest fel- 
low for ridding the parish of an accursed witch. 
This abominable murder was committed 30th July, 
1751. 

The repetition of such horrors, the proneness of 
the people to so cruel and heart-searing a supersti- 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 233 

| lion, was traced by the legislature to its source, 
namely, the yet unabolished statute of James I. Ac- 
cordingly, by the 9th George II. cap. 5, that odious 
law, so long the object of horror to all ancient and 
poverty-stricken females in the kingdom, was abro- 
gated, and all criminal procedure on the subject of 
sorcery or witchcraft discharged in future throughout 
Great Britain ; reserving for such as should pretend 
to the skill of fortune-tellers, discoverers of stolen 
goods, or the like, the punishment of the correction 
house, as due to rogues and vagabonds. Since that 
period, witchcraft has been little heard of in Eng- 
land, and although the belief in its existence has, in 
remote places, survived the law that recognised the 
evidence of the crime, and assigned its punishment 
— yet such faith is gradually becoming forgotten 
since the rabble have been deprived of all pretext to 
awaken it by their own riotous proceedings. Some 
•rare instances have occurred of attempts similar to 
that for which Colley suffered: and I observe one is 
preserved in that curious register of knowledge, Mr. 
Hone's Popular Amusements, from which it ap- 
pears, that as late as the end of last century this bru- 
tality was practised, though happily without loss of 
life. 

The Irish statute against witchcraft still exists, as 
it would seem. Nothing occurred in that kingdom 
which recommended its being formally annulled; 
but it is considered as obsolete, and should so wild 
a thing be attempted in the present day, no proce- 
dure, it is certain, would now be permitted to ho 
upon it. 

If any thing were wanted to confirm the general 
proposition, that the epidemic terror of witchcraft 
increases and becomes general in proportion to the 
increase of prosecutions against witches, it would be 
sufficient to quote certain extraordinary occurrences 
in New-England. Only a brief account can be here 
given of the dreadful hallucination under which the 
U2 



234 LETTERS ON 

colonists of that province were for a time delude 
and oppressed by a strange contagious terror, an 
how suddenly and singularly it was cured, even b 
its own excess ; but it is too strong evidence of th 
imaginary character of this hideous disorder, to b 
altogether suppressed. 

New-England, as is well known, was people 
mainly by emigrants who had been disgusted wit 
the government of Charles I. in church and statt 
previous to the great Civil War. Many of the mor 
wealthy settlers were Presbyterians and Calvinists 
others, fewer in number, and less influential fror 
their fortune, were Quakers, Anabaptists, 01 merr 
bers of the other sects, who were included unde 
the general name of Independents. The Calvin 
ists brought with them the same zeal for religic 
and strict morality which every where distinguishe 
them. Unfortunately, they were not wise accordin 
to their zeal, but entertained a proneness to believ 
in supernatural and direct personal intercourse be 
tween the Devil and his vassals — an error to which, a 
we have endeavoured to show, their brethren in Eu 
rope had. from the beginning, been peculiarly sub 
ject. In a country imperfectly cultivated, and wher< 
the partially improved spots were imbosomed in in 
accessible forests, inhabited by numerous tribes ol 
savages, it was natural that a disposition to supersti 
tion should rather gain than lose ground, and that t< 
other dangers and horrors with which they were sur 
ounded, the colonists should have added fears o\ 
the Devil, not merely as the Evil Principle tempting 
human nature to sin, and thus endangering our sal 
vation, but as combined with sorcerers and witches 
to inflict death and torture upon children and others 

The first case which I observe, was that of foiu 
children of a person called John Goodwin, a mason. 
The eldest, a girl, had quarrelled with the laundress 
of the family about some linen which was rmssing. 
The mother of the laundress, an ignorant, testy, and 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 235 

choleric old Irishwoman, scolded the accuser ; and 
shortly after, the elder Goodwin, her sister, and two 
brothers were seized with such strange diseases, that 
all their neighbours concluded they were bewitched. 
They conducted themselves as those supposed to 
suffer under maladies created by such influence were 
accustomed to do. They stiffened their necks so 
hard at one time that the joints could not be moved; 
at another time their necks were so flexible and 
supple, that it seemed the bone was dissolved. They 
had violent convulsions, in which their jaws snapped 
with the force of a spring-trap set for vermin. Their 
limbs were curiously contorted, and to those who 
had a taste for the marvellous, seemed entirely dis- 
located and displaced. Amid these distortions, they 
cried out against the poor old woman, whose name 
was Glover, alleging that she was in presence with 
them, adding to their torments. The miserable Irish- 
woman, who hardly could speak the English lan- 
guage, repeated her Pater Noster and Ave Maria 
like" a good Catholic; but there were some words 
which she had forgotten. She was therefore sup- 
posed to be unable to pronounce the whole consis- 
tently and correctly — and condemned and executed 
accordingly. 

But the children of Goodwin found the trade they 
were engaged in to be too profitable to be laid aside, 
and the eldest, in particular, continued all the external 
signs of witchcraft and possession. Some of these 
were excellently calculated to flatter the self-opinion 
and prejudices of the Calvinist ministers, by whom 
she was attended, and accordingly bear in their very 
front the character of studied and voluntary impos- 
ture. The young woman, acting, as was supposed, 
under the influence of the Devil, read a Quaker trea- 
tise with ease and apparent satisfaction ; — but a book 
written against the poor inoffensive Friends, the 
Devil would not allow his victim to touch. She 



236 LETTERS ON 

could look on a Church of England Prayer-book, and 
read the portions of Scripture which it contains, 
without difficulty or impediment; — but the spirit, 
which possessed her threw her into fits if she at- 
tempted to read the same Scriptures from the Bible, 
as if the awe which it is supposed the fiends enter- 
tain for Holy Writ, depended, not on the meaning of 
the words, but the arrangement of the page, and the 
type in which they were printed. This singular 
species of flattery was designed to captivate the cler- 
gyman through his professional opinions ; — others 
were more strictly personal. The afflicted damsel 
seems to have been somewhat of the humour of the 
Inamorato of Messrs. Smack, Pluck, Catch, and 
Company, and had, like her, merry as well as melan- 
choly fits. She often imagined that her attendant 
spirits brought her a handsome pony to ride off with 
them to their rendezvous. On such occasions she 
made a spring upwards, as if to mount her horse, 
and then, still seated on her chair, mimicked with 
dexterity and agility the motions of the animal 
pacing, trotting, and galloping, like a child on the 
nurse's knee ; but when she cantered in this manner 
up stairs, she affected inability to enter the clergy- 
man's study, and when she was pulled into it by 
force, used to become quite well, and stand up as 
a rational being. "Reasons were given for this," 
says the simple minister, " that seem more kind than 
true." Shortly after this, she appears to have treated 
the poor divine with a species of sweetness and 
attention, which gave him greater embarrassment 
than her former violence. She used to break in upon 
him at his studies to importune him to come down 
stairs, and thus advantaged doubtless the kingdom 
of Satan by the interruption of his pursuits. At 
length, the Goodwins were, or appeared to be, cured. 
But the example had been given and caught, and the 
blood of poor Dame Glover, which had been the 



DE5I0N0L0GY AND WITCHCRAFT. 237 

introduction to this tale of a hobby-horse, -was to be 
the forerunner of new atrocities, and fearfully more 
general follies. 

This scene opened by the illness of two girls, a 
daughter and niece of Mr. Pan-is, the minister of 
Salem, who fell under an affliction similar to that ol 
the Goodwins. Their mouths were stopped, their 
throats choked, their limbs racked, thorns were 
stuck into their flesh, and pins were ejected from 
their stomachs. An Indian and his wife, servants 
of the family, endeavouring, by some spell of their 
own, to discover by whom the fatal charm had been 
imposed on their master's children, drew themselves 
under suspicion, and were hanged. The judges and 
juries persevered, encouraged by the discovery ot 
these poor Indians' guilt, and hoping they might 
thus expel from the colony the authors of such prac- 
tices. They acted, says Mather, the historian, under 
a conscientious wish to do justly; but the cases of 
witchcraft and possession increased as if they were 
transmitted bv contagion, and the same sort of spec- 
tral evidence" being received which had occasioned 
the condemnation of the Indian woman Tito, became 
generally fatal. The afflicted persons failed not to 
lee the spectres, as they were termed, of the persons 
by whom they were tormented. Against this species 
of evidence no alibi could be offered, because it was 
admitted, as we have said elsewhere, that the real 
persons of the accused were not there present ; and 
every thing rested upon the assumption that the 
afflicted persons were telling the truth, since their 
evidence could not be redargued. These spectres 
were o-enerallv represented as offering their victims 
a book, on signing which they would be freed from 
their torments. Sometimes the Devil appeared in 
person, and added his own eloquence to move the 
afflicted persons to consent. 

At first, as seems natural enough, the poor and 
miserable alone were involved; but presently, when 



238 LETTERS ON 

such evidence was admitted as incontrovertible, thri 
afflicted began to see the spectral appearances of 
persons of higher condition, and of irreproachable! 
lives, some of whom were arrested, some made their 
escape, while several were executed. The more 
that suffered, the greater became the number of 
afflicted persons, and the wider and the more nu- 
merous were the denunciations against supposed 
witches. The accused were of all ages. A child 
of five years old was endicted by some of the af- 
flicted, who imagined they saw this juvenile wizard 
active in tormenting them, and appealed to the mark 
of little teeth on their bodies, where they stated it 
had bitten them. A poor dog was also hanged, as 
having been alleged to be busy in this infernal per- 
secution. These gross insults on common reason 
occasioned a revulsion in public feeling, but not till 
many lives had been sacrificed. By this means 
nineteen men and women were executed, besides a 
stout-hearted man, named Cory, who refused to plead,, 
and was accordingly pressed to death, according to: 
the old law. On this horrible occasion, a circumstance! 
took place disgusting to humanity, which must yet be 
told, to show how superstition can steel the heart of a 
man against the misery of his fellow-creature. The' 
dying man, in the mortal agony, thrust out his tongue,: 
which the Sheriff crammed with his cane back again 
into hjts mouth. Eight persons were condemned, 
besides those who had actually suffered ; and no less 
than two hundred were in prison and under exami- 
nation. 

Men began then to ask, Avhether the Devil might 
not artfully deceive the afflicted into the accusation 
of good and innocent persons, by presenting witches 
and fiends in the resemblance of blameless persons, 
as engaged in the tormenting of their diseased coun- 
tryfolk. This argument was by no means incon- 
sistent with the belief in witchcraft, and was the 
more readily listened to on that account. Besides, 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 239 

men found that no rank or condition could save 
them from the danger of this horrible accusation, it 
they continued to encourage the witnesses in such 
an unlimited course as had hitherto been granted to 
them. Influenced by these reflections, the settlers 
awoke as from a dream, and the voice of the public, 
which had so lately demanded vengeance on all who 
were suspected of sorcery, began now, on the other 
hand, to lament the effusion of blood, under the 
strong suspicion that part of it at least had been in- 
nocently and unjustly sacrificed. In Mather's own 
lantmage, which we use as that of a man deeply 
convinced of the reality of the crime, "experience 
showed that the more were apprehended, the more 
were still afflicted by Satan, and the number of con- 
fessions increasing, did but increase the number ol 
the accused, and the execution of some made way 
to the apprehension of others. For still the afflicted 
complained of being tormented by new objects, as 
the former were removed, so that some of those that 
were concerned grew amazed at the number and 
condition of those that were accused, and leared 
that Satan, by his wiles, had inwrapped innocent 
persons under the imputation of that crime ; and at 
last, as was evidently seen, there must be a stop 
put, or the generation of the kingdom of God would 
fall under condemnation."* 

The prosecutions were, therefore, suddenly 
stopped, the prisoners dismissed, the condemned par- 
doned, and even those who had confessed, the num- 
ber of whom was very extraordinary, were pardoned 
among others ; and the author we have just quoted 
thus records the result :— " When this prosecution 

* Mather's Magnalia, book vi. chap, lxxxii. The zealous author 
however, regrets the general jail-delivery on the .score s of sorcery and 
thinks, had the times been calm, the case might have required a farther 
Investigation, and that, on the whole, the matter was ended too abruptly. 
But the temper of the times considered, he admits candidly that it is 
better to acTmoderately in matters capital, and to let the" guilty escape, 
than run the risk of destroying the innocent. 



240 LETTERS ON 

ceased, the Lord so chained up Satan, that tne ftfi 
flicted grew presently well. The accused were 
generally quiet, and for five years there was no such 
molestation among us." 

To this it must be added, that the congregation 
of Salem compelled Mr. Parvis, in whose family the 
disturbance had begun, and who, they alleged, was 
the person by whom it was most fiercely driven] 
on in the commencement, to leave his settlement 
among them. Such of the accused as had confessed 
the acts of witchcraft imputed to them, generally 
denied and retracted their confessions, asserting 
them to have been made under fear of torture, in- 
fluence of persuasion, or other circumstances exclu- 
sive of their free will. Several of the judges and 
jurors concerned in the sentence of those who were 
executed, published their penitence for their rash 
ness in convicting these unfortunate persons; and 
one of the judges, a man of the most importance in 
the colony, observed, during the rest of his life, the 
anniversary of the first execution as a day of solemn 
fast and humiliation for his own share in the trans- 
action. Even the barbarous Indians were struck 
with wonder at the infatuation of the English colo- 
nists on this occasion, and drew disadvantageous 
comparisons between them and the French, among 
whom, as they remarked, "the Great Spirit sends 
no witches." 

The system of witchcraft, as believed in Scotland* 
must next claim our attention, as it is different in 
some respects from that of England, and subsisted 
to a later period, and was prosecuted with much 
more severity. 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 24 1 



LETTER IX. 

Srottish Trials— Earl of Mar— Lady Glammls— William Barton- 
Witches cf Auldearne— Their Kites and Charms— Their Transforma- 
tion into Hares— Satan's Severity towards them— Their Crimes— Sir 
George Mackenzie's Opinion of Witchcraft— Instances of Confessions 
made by the Accused, in Despair, and to avoid future Annoyance and 
Persecution— Examination by Pricking— The Mode of judicial Proce- 
dure against Witches, and Nature of the Evidence admissible, opened 
a Door to Accusers, and left the Accused no Chance of Escape— The 
Superstition of the Scottish Clergy in King James Vl.s Time led 
them, like their Sovereign, to encourage Witch-Prosecutions — Case 
of Bessie Rraham —Supposed Conspiracy to Shipwreck James in his 
Voyage to Denmark— Meetings of the Witches, and Rites performed 
to accomplish their Purpose— Trial of Margaret Barclay in 1618— Case 
of Major Weir— Sir John Clerk among the first who declined acting 
as Commissioner on the Trial of a Witch— Paisley and Pittenweetu 
Witches— A Prosecution in Caithness prevented by the Interferenco 
of the King's Advocate in 1718 — The last Sentence of Death for 
Witchcraft pronounced in Scotland in 1722— Remains of the Witch 
Superstition— Case of supposed Witchcraft, related from the Author's 
own Knowledge, which took place so late as 1800. 

For many years the Scottish nation had been re- 
markable for a credulous belief in witchcraft, and 
repeated examples were supplied by the annals of 
sanguinary executions on this sad accusation. Our 
acquaintance with the slender foundation on which 
Boetius and Buchanan leared the early part of their 
histories, may greatly incline us to doubt whether a 
king named Duffus ever reigned in Scotland, and 
still more whether he died by the agency of a gang 
of witches, who inflicted torments upon an image 
made in his name, for the sake of compassing his 
death. In the tale of Macbeth, which is another 
early instance of Demonology in Scottish history, 
the weird-sisters, who were the original prophet- 
esses, appeared to the usurper in a dream, and are 
described as voice, or sibyls, rather than as witches,, 
though Shakspeare has stamped the latter character 
indelibly upon them. 



242 LETTERS ON 

One of the earliest real cases of importance 
founded upon witchcraft, was, like those of the 
Ducthess of Gloucester, and others in the sister 
country, mingled with an accusation of a political 
nature, which, rather than the sorcery, brought the 
culprits to their fate. The Earl of Mar, brother of 
James III. of Scotland, fell under the king's suspi- 
cion, for consulting with witches and sorcerers how 
to shorten the king's days. On such a charge, very 
inexplicitly stated, the unhappy Mar was bled to 
death in his own lodgings, without either trial or 
conviction ; immediately after which catastrophe, 
twelve women of obscure rank, and three or four 
wizards, or warlocks as they were termed, were 
burned at Edinburgh, to give a colour to the Earl's 
guilt. 

In the year 1537, a noble matron fell a victim to a 
similar charge. This was Janet Douglas, Lady 
Glammis, who, with her son, her second husband, 
and several others, stood accused of attempting 
James's life by poison, with a view to the restoration 
of the Douglas family, of which Lady Glammis's 
brother, the Earl of Angus, was the head. She died 
much pitied by the people, who seem to have 
thought the articles against her forged for the pur- 
pose of taking her life ; her kindred, and very name, 
being so obnoxious to the king. 

Previous to this lady's execution there would 
appear to have been but few prosecuted to death on 
the score of witchcraft, although the want of the 
justiciary records of that period leaves us in uncer- 
tainty. But in the end of the fifteenth and begin- 
ning of the sixteenth centuries, when such charges 
grew general over Europe, cases of the kind occurred 
very often in Scotland, and, as Ave have already 
noticed, were sometimes of a peculiar character. 
There is, indeed, a certain monotony in most tales 
of the kind. The vassals are usually induced to 
sell themselves at a small price to the Author of 111, 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 243 

who, having commonly to do with women, drives a 
very hard bargain. On the contrary, when he was 
pleased to enact the female on a similar occasion, 
he brought his gallant, one William Barton, a fortune 
of no less than fifteen pounds ; which, even suppos- 
ing it to have been the Scottish denomination of coin, 
was a very liberal endowment, compared with his 
nigo-ardly conduct towards the fair sex on such an 
occasion. Neither did he pass false coin on this 
occasion, but, on the contrary, generously gave Bar- 
ton a merk, to keep the fifteen pounds whole. In 
observino- on Satan's conduct in this matter, Master 
George Sinclair observes, that it is fortunate the 
Enemy is but seldom permitted to bribe so high (as 
£15 Scots), for were this the case, he might find 
few men or women capable of resisting his munifi- 
cence I look upon this as one of the most severe 
reflections on our forefathers' poverty which is 

extant. . , ., 

In many of the Scottish witches' trials, as to the 
description of Satan's Domdaniel, and the Sabbath 
which he there celebrates, the northern superstition 
aorees with that of England. But some of the con- 
fessions depart from the monotony of repetition, and 
add some more fanciful circumstances than occur in 
the general case. Isobel Gowdie's confession, al- 
ready mentioned, is extremely minute, and some part 
of it at least may be quoted, as there are other pas- 
sao-es not very edifying. The witches of Auldearne, 
according to this penitent, were so numerous, that 
they were told off into squads, or covines, as they 
were termed, to each of which were appointed two 
officers. One of these was called the Maiden ot 
the Covine, and was usually, like Tarn O'Shanter s 
Nannie, a girl of personal attractions, whom Satan 
placed beside himself, and treated with a particular 
attention, which greatly provoked the spite of the 
old hags, who felt themselves insulted by the pre- 



244 LETTERS ON 

ference.* When assembled, they dug up graves, 
and possessed themselves of the carcasses (of un< 
christened infant in particular), whose joints and 
members they used in their magic unguents and 
salves. When they desired to secure for their own 
use the crop of some neighbour, they made a pre 
tence of ploughing it with a yoke of paddocks 
These foul creatures drew the plough, which was 1 
held by the Devil himself. The plough harness and 
soams were made of quicken grass, the sock and 
coulter were made out of a riglen's horn, and the 
covine attended on the operation, praying the Devil 
to transfer to them the fruit of the ground so tra- 
versed, and leave the proprietors nothing but thistles 
and briers. The witches' sports, with their elfin 
archery, I have already noticed (page 143). They 
entered the house of the Earl of Murray himself, and I 
such other mansions as were not fenced against ( 
them by vigil and prayer, and feasted on the provi- I 
sions they found there. 

As these witches were the countrywomen of the I 
weird sisters in Macbeth, the reader may be desirous 
to hear some of their spells, and of the poetry by j 
which they were accompanied and enforced. They 
used to hash the flesh of an unchristened child, 
mixed with that of dogs and sheep, and place it in 
the house of those whom they devoted to destruction I 
in body or goods, saying, or singing, — 

" We put this i n t ill this hame, 
In our Lord the Devil's prime ; 
1 he first hands that handle thee, 
Burn'd and scalded may ihey be! 



* This word Covine seems to signify (< subdivision, or squad. The 
tree near the front of an ancient castle was called the Covine tree, pro- 
bubly because the Lord received his company there. 

"He is Lord of the hunting horn, 
And King of the Covine tree ; 
He 's vs ell loo'd in the western waters, 
But best of his ain minnie." 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 245 

We will destroy houses and hald, 
With the sheep and nolt into the fauld ; 
And little sail come to the fore, 
Of all the rest of the little store !" 

Metamorphoses were, according to Isobel, very com- 
mon among them, and the forms of crows, cats, hares, 
and other animals, were on such occasions assumed. 
In the hare shape Isobel herself had a bad adven- 
ture. She had been sent by the Devil to Auldearne, 
in that favourite disguise, with some message to her 
neighbours, but had the misfortune to meet Peter 
Papley of KillhilFs servants going to labour, having 
his hounds with them. The hounds sprung on the 
disguised witch, "And I," says Isobel, "run a very 
long time, and being hard pressed, was forced to take 
to my own house, the door being open, and there 
took refuge behind a chest." But the hounds came 
in, and took the other side of the chest, so that Isobel 
only escaped by getting into another house and gain- 
ing time to say the disenchanting rhyme : — 

" Hare, hare, God send thee care ! 
I am in a hare's likenessnow; 
But I shall he woman even now — 
Hare, hare, God send thee care!" 

Such accidents, she said, were not uncommon, 
and the witches were sometimes bitten by the dogs, 
of which the marks remained after their restoration 
to human shape. But none had been killed on such 
occasions. 

The ceremonial of the Sabbath meetings Avas 
very strict. The foul fiend was veiy rigid in exact- 
ing the most ceremonious attention from his votaries, 
and the title of Lord when addressed by them. 
Sometimes, however, the weird sisters, when whis- 
pering among themselves, irreverently spoke of their 
sovereign by the name of Black John; upon such 
occasions, the fiend rushed on them like a school- 
master who surprises his pupils in delict, and beat 
X 2 



246 LETTERS ON 

and buffeted them without mercy or discretion, say. 
ing, " I ken weel eneugh what you are saying of me." 
Then might be seen the various tempers of those 
whom he commanded. Alexander Elder in Earlseat, 
often fell under his lord's displeasure for neglect of 
duty, and, being weak and simple, could never defend 
himself save with tears, cries, and entreaties for 
mercy ; but some of the women, according to Isobel 
Gowdie's confession, had more of the spirit which | 
animated the old dame of Keilyburn Braes. Marga- 
ret Wilson in Auldearn e would " defend herself 
finely," and make her hands save her head, after the 
old Scottish manner. Bessie Wilson could also 
speak very crustily with her tongue, and " belled the 
cat" with the Devil stoutly. The others chiefly 
took refuge in crying "pity ! mercy!" and such like, 
while Satan kept beating them with wool cards, and 
other sharp scourges, without attending to their en- 
treaties or complaints. There were attendant 
devils and imps, who served the witches. They 
were usually distinguished by their liveries, which 
were sad-dun, grass-green, sea-green, and yellow. 
The witches were taught to call these imps by names, 
some of which might belong to humanity, while 
others had a diabolical sound. These were Robert 
the Jakis, Saunders the Red Reaver, Thomas the 
Feary, Swein, an old Scandinavian Duerg probably; 
the Roaring Lion, Thief of Hell, Wait-upon-Herself, 
MacKeeler, Robert the Rule, Hendrie Craig, and 
Rorie. These names, odd and uncouth enough, are 
better imagined at least than those which Hopkins 
contrived for the imps which he discovered — such 
as Pywacket, Peck-in-the-Crown, Sack -and- Sugar, 
News, Vinegar-Tom, and Grizell Greedigut, the 
broad vulgarity of which epithets shows what a fiat 
imagination he brought to support his impudent 
fictions. 

The Devil, who commanded the fair sisterhood, 
being fond of mimicking the forms of the Christian 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 247 

church, used to rebaptize the witches with their 
blood, anJ in his own great name. The proud sto- 
mached Margaret Wilson, who scorned to take a 
blow unrepaid, even from Satan himself, was called 
Pickle-nearest-the-Wind ; her compeer, Bessie Wil- 
son, was Throw-the-Cornyard ; Elspet Nishe's was 
Bessie Bald ; Bessie Hay's nickname was, Able-and- 
Stout, and Jane Mairten, the Maiden of the Covine, 
was called Ovver-the-Dike-with-it. 

Isobel took upon herself, and imputed to her sis- 
ters, as already mentioned, the death of sundry per- 
sons shot with elf-arrows, because they had omitted 
to bless themselves as the aerial flight of the hags 
swept pass them.* She had herself the temerity to 
shoot at the Laird of Park as he was riding through 
a ford, but missed him, through the influence of the 
running stream perhaps, for which she thanks God 
in her confession; and adds, that at the time, she 
received a great cuff from Bessie Hay for her awk- 
wardness. They devoted the male children of this 
gentleman (of the well-known family of Gordon of 
Park, I presume), to wasting illness, by the following 
lines, placing at the same time in the fire figures com- 
posed of clay mixed with paste, to represent the ob- 
ject :— 

" We put this water among this meal, 
For long dwiningt and ill heal ; 
We put it into the fire, 
To burn them up stook andstour.J 
That they be burned with our will, 
Like any stikkle§ in a kiln." 

Such was the singular confession of Isobel Gow- 
die, made voluntarily, it would seem, and without 
compulsion of any kind, judicially authenticated by 
the subscription of the notary, clergymen, and gen- 
tlemen present; adhered to after their separate diets 

* See p. 144. 

t Pining. { We should read perhaps, " limb and lire." 

j Stubble. 



248 LETTERS ON 

as they are called, of examination, and containing 
no variety or contradiction in its details. Whatever 
might be her state of mind in other respects, she 
seems to have been perfectly conscious of the peril- 
ous consequence of her disclosures to her own per- 
son. " I do not deserve," says she, " to be seated 
here at ease and unharmed, but rather to be stretched 
on an iron rack : nor can my crimes be atoned for 
were I to be drawn asunder by wild horses." 

It only remains to suppose, that this wretched 
creature was under the dominion of some peculiar 
species of lunacy, to which a full perusal of her con- 
fession might perhaps guide a medical person of 
judgment and experience. Her case is interesting, 
as throwing upon the rites and ceremonies of the 
Scottish witches a light which we seek in vain else- 
where. 

Other unfortunate persons were betrayed to theii 
own reproof by other means than the derangement of 
mind, which seems to have operated onlsobel Gowdie. 
Some, as we have seen, endeavoured to escape from 
the charge of witchcraft, by admitting an intercourse 
with the fairy people ; an excuse which was never 
admitted as relevant. Others were subjected to cruel 
tortures, by which our ancestors thought the guilty 
might be brought to confession, but which far more 
frequently compelled the innocent to bear evidence 
against themselves. On this subject the celebrated 
Sir George Mackenzie, "that noble wit of Scotland," 
as he is termed by Dryden, has some most judicious 
reflections, which we shall endeavour to abstract, as 
the result of the experience of one, who, in his ca- 
pacity of Lord Advocate, had often occasion to con- 
duct witch-trials, and who, not doubting the exist- 
ence of the crime, was of opinion, that, on account 
of its very horror, it required the clearest and most 
strict probation. 

He first insists on the great improbability of the 
Fiend, without riches to bestow, and avowedly sub- 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 249 

jected to a higher power, being able to enlist such 
numbers of recruits, and the little advantage which 
he himself would gain by doing so. But, 2dly, says 
Mackenzie, " the persons ordinarily accused of this 
crime, are poor ignorant men, or else women, who 
understand not the nature of what they are accused 
of; and many mistake their own fears and apprehen- 
sions for witchcraft, of which I shall give two in- 
stances. One, of a poor weaver, who, after he had 
confessed witchcraft, being asked how he saw the 
devil, made answer, ' Like flies dancing about the 
candle.' Another, of a woman, who asked seriously 
when she was accused, if a woman might be a witch 
and not know it] And it is dangerous that persons, 
of all others the most simple, should be tried for a 
crime of all others the most mysterious. 3dly, 
These poor creatures, when they are defamed, be- 
come so confounded with fear, and the close prison 
in which they are kept, and so starved for want of 
meat and drink, either of which wants is enough to 
disarm the strongest reason, that hardly wiser and 
more serious people than they would escape distrac- 
tion ; and when men are confounded with fear and 
apprehension, they will imagine things the most ri- 
diculous and absurd," — of which instances are given. 
4thly, "Most of these poor creatures are tortured by 
their keepers, who, being persuaded they do God 
good service, think it their duty to vex and torment 
poor prisoners delivered up to them, as rebels to 
heaven and enemies to men ; and I know" (continues 
Sir George,) "err certissima scientia, that most of all 
that ever were taken were tormented in this man- 
ner, and this usage was the ground of all their con- 
fession ; and albeit the poor miscreants cannot prove 
this usage, the actors being the only witnesses, yet 
the judge should be jealous of it, as that which did 
at first elicit the confession, and for fear of which 
they dare not retract it." 5thly, This learned author 
gives us an instance, how these unfortunate crea- 



250 LETTEKS ON 

tures might be reduced to confession, by the very 
infamy which the accusation cast upon them, and 
which was sure to follow, condemning them for life 
to a state of necessity, misery, and suspicion, such 
as any person of reputation would willingly exchange 
for a short death, however painful. 

" I went when I was a Justice-deput to examine 
some women who had confessed judicially, and one 
of them, who was a silly creature, told me under 
secresie, that she had not confessed because she 
was guilty, but being a poor creature who wrought 
for her meat, and being defamed for a witch, she 
knew she would starve, for no person thereafter 
would either give her meat or lodging, and that all 
men would beat her and hound dogs at her, and that 
therefore she desired to be out of the world ; where- 
upon she wept most bitterly, and upon her knees 
called God to witness to what she said. Another 
told me, that she was afraid the devil would chal- 
lenge a right to her, after she was said to be his ser- 
vant, and would haunt her, as the minister said, 
when he was desiring her to confess, and therefore 
she desired to die. And really ministers are oft- 
times indiscreet in their zeal to have poor creatures 
to confess in this ; and I recommend to judges, that 
the wisest ministers should be sent to them, and those 
who are sent should be cautious in this particular."* 

As a corollary to this affecting story, I may quote 
the case of a woman in Lauder jail, who lay there 
with other females on a charge of witchcraft. Her 
companions in prison were adjudged 1o die, and she 
too had, by a confession as full as theirs, given her- 
self up as guilty. She, therefore, sent for the minis- 
ter of the town, and entreated to be put to death with 
the others who had been appointed to suffer upon the 
next Monday. The clergyman, however, as -well as 
others, had adopted a strong persuasion that this con- 

* Mackenzie's Criminal Law, p. 45 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 251 

fession was made up in the pride of her heart, for 
the destruction of her own life, and had no founda- 
tion in truth. We give the result of the minister's 
words : 

" Therefore much pains was taken on her, by- 
ministers and others, on Saturday, Sunday, and Mon- 
day morning, that she might resile from that confes- 
sion, which was suspected to be but a temptation of 
the Devil, to destroy both her soul and body ; yea, it 
was charged home upon her by the ministers, that 
there was just ground of jealousy that her confes- 
sion was not sincere, and she was charged before the 
Lord to declare the truth, and not to take her blood 
upon her own head. Yet she stiffly adhered to what 
she had said, and cried always to be put away with 
the rest. Whereupon, on Monday morning, being 
called before the judges, and confessing before them 
what she had said, she was found guilty, and con- 
demned to die with the rest that same day. Being 
carried forth to the place of execution, she remained 
silent during the first, second, and third prayer, and 
then perceiving that there remained no more, but to 
rise and go to the stake, she lifted up her body, and 
with a loud voice cried out, ' Now, all you that see 
me this day, know that I am now to die as a witch 
by my own confession, and T free all men, especially 
the ministers and magistrates, of the guilt of my 
blood. I take it wholly upon myself— my blood be 
upon my own head ; and as I must make answer to 
the God of heaven presently, I declare I am as free 
of witchcraft as any child ; but being delated by a 
malicious woman, and put in prison under the name 
of a witch, disowned by my husband and friends, and 
seeing no ground of hope of my coming out of pri- 
son, or ever coming in credit again, through the 
temptation of the devil I made up that confession, 
on purpose to destroy my own life, being weary of 
it, and choosing rather to die than live ;' — and so died. 
Which lamentable story, as it did then astonish all 



252 LETTERS ON 

the spectators, none of which could restrain them- 
selves from tears; so it may be to all a demonstra- 
tion of Satan's subtlety, whose design is still to de- 
stroy all, partly by tempting many to presumption, 
and some others to despair. These things to be of 
truth, are attested by an eye and ear-witness who is 
yet alive, a faithful minister of the gospel."* It is 
strange the inference does not seem to have been 
deduced, that as one woman, out of very despair, re- 
nounced her own life, the same might have been the 
case in many other instances, wherein the confes- 
sions of the accused constituted the principal, if not 
sole, evidence of the guilt. 

One celebrated mode of detecting witches, and 
torturing them at the same time to draw forth con- 
fession, was, by running pins into their body, on pre- 
tence of discovering the devil's stigma, or mark, 
which was said to be inflicted by him upon all his 
vassals, and to be insensible to pain. This species 
of search, the practice of the infamous Hopkins, was 
in Scotland reduced to a trade ; and the young witch- 
finder was allowed to torture the accused party, as 
if in exercise of a lawful calling, although Sir 
George Mackenzie stigmatizes it as a horrid impos- 
ture. I observe in the Collections of Mr. Pitcairn, 
that, at the trial of Janet Peaston of Dalkeith, the 
magistrates and ministers of that market town caused 
John Kincaid of Tranent, the common pricker, to 
exercise his craft upon her, "who found two marks 
of what he called the devil's making, and which ap- 
peared indeed to be so, for she could not feel the pin 
when it was put into either of the said marks, nor 
did they (the marks) bleed when they were taken out 
again ; and when she was asked where she thought 
the pins were put in, she pointed to a part of her 
body distant from the real place. They were pins 
of three inches in length." 

* Sinclair's Satan's Invisible World discovered, p. 43. 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 2S3 

Besides the fact, that the persons of old people 
especially sometimes contain spots void of sensi- 
bility, there is also room to believe that the pro 
fessed prickers used a pin, the point, or lower part 
of which was, on being pressed down, sheathed in 
the upper, which was hollow for the purpose, and 
that which appeared to enter the body did not pierce 
it at all. But, were it worth while to dwell on a 
subject so ridiculous, we might recollect, that in so 
terrible an agony of shame that is likely to convulse 
a human being under such a trial, and such personal 
insults, the blood is apt to return to the heart, and a 
slight wound, as with a pin, may be inflicted, without 
being followed by blood. In the latter end of the 
seventeenth century, this childish, indecent, and 
brutal practice, began to be called by its right name. 
Fountainhall has recorded, that in 1678, the Privy 
Council received the complaint of a poor woman, 
who had been abused by a country magistrate, and 
one of those impostors called prickers. They ex- 
pressed high displeasure against the presumption of 
the parties complained against, and treated the 
pricker as a common cheat.* 

From this and other instances, it appears that the 
predominance of the superstition of witchcraft, and 
the proneness to persecute those accused of such 
practices in Scotland, were increased by the too 
great readiness of subordinate judges to interfere in 
matters which were, in fact, beyond their jurisdic- 
tion. The Supreme Court of Justiciary was that in 
which the cause properly and exclusively ought to 
have been tried. But, in practice, each inferior judge 
in the country, the pettiest bailie in the most trifling 
burgh, the smallest and most ignorant baron of a 
rude territory, took it on him to arrest, imprison, and 
examine, in which examinations, as we have already 
seen, the accused suffered the grossest injustice, 

* Fountaiiihall's Decisions, vol. 1, p. 15. 



254 LETTERS ON 






The copies of these examinations, made up ot ex 
torted confessions, or the evidence of inhabile wit 
nesses, were all that were transmitted to the Privy.- ■ 
Council, who were to direct the future mode of pro-j 
cedure. Thus no creature was secure against thef 
malice or folly of some defamatory accusation, iff 
there was a timid or superstitious judge, though of, 
the meanest denomination, to be found within the: 
district. 

But, secondly, it was the course of the Privy 
Council to appoint commissions of the gentlemen 
of the country, and particularly of the clergymen,! 
though not likely from their education to be freed! 
from general prejudice, and peculiarly liable to bej 
effected by the clamour of the neighbourhood against 
the delinquent. Now, as it is well known that such 
a commission could not be granted in a case of mur- 
der in the county where the crime was charged,: 
there seems no good reason why the trial of witches,; 
so liable to excite the passions, should not have been> 
uniformly tried by a court whose rank and condition 
secured them from the suspicion of partiality. But] 
our ancestors arranged it otherwise, and it was the 1 ! 
consequence that such commissioners very seldom,: 
by acquitting the persons brought before them, lost an 
opportunity of destroying a witch. 

Neither must it be forgotten, that the proof led in. 
support of the prosecution was of a kind very unu- 1 
sual in jurisprudence. The lawyers admitted as S 
evidence what they called damnum minatum, et ma- 
lum secutum — some mischief, that is to say, follow- 
ing close upon a threat, or wish of revenge, uttered I 
by the supposed witch, which, though it might be 
attributed to the most natural course of events, was 
supposed necessarily to be in consequence of the 
menaces of the accused. 

Sometimes this vague species of evidence was still 
more loosely adduced, and allegations of danger 
threatened, and mischief ensuing, were admitted,, 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 255 

though the menaces had not come from the accused 
party herself. On 10th June, 1661, as John Stewart, 
one of a party of stout burghers of Dalkeith, ap- 
pointed to guard an old woman, called Christian 
Wilson, from that town to Niddrie, was cleaning his 
gun, he was slyly questioned by Janet Cocke, an- 
other confessing witch, who probably saw his courage 
was not entirely constant, " What would you think 
if the Devil raise a whirlwind, and take her from you 
on the road to-morrow?" Sure enough, on their 
journey to Niddrie, the party were actually assailed 
by a sudden gust of wind (not a very uncommon 
event in that climate), which scarce permitted the 
valiant guard to keep their feet, while the miserable 
prisoner was blown into a pool of water, and with 
difficulty raised again. There is some ground to 
hope that this extraordinary evidence was not ad- 
mitted upon the trial. 

There is a stoiy told of an old wizard, whose real 
name was Alexander Hunter, though he was more 
generally known by the nickname of Hatteraick, 
which it had pleased the devil to confer upon him. 
This man had for some time adopted the credit of 
being a conjurer, and curing the diseases of man and 
beast, by spells and charms. One summer's day, on 
a screen hill-side, the devil appeared to him in the 
shape of a grave " Mediciner," addressing him thus, 
roundly,—" Sandie, you have too long followed my 
trade without acknowledging me for a master. 1 ou 
must now enlist with me and become my servant, 
and I will teach you your trade better." Hatteraick 
consented to the proposal, and we shall let the Rev. 
Mr. George Sinclair tell the rest of the tale. 

" After this, he grew very famous through the 
country for his charming and curing of diseases in 
men and beasts, and turned a vagrant fellow like a 
jockie,* gaining meal, and flesh, and money by his 

* Or Scottish wandering beggar. 



256 LETTERS ON 

charms, such was the ignorance of many at that' 
time. Whatever house he came to, none durst refuse) 
Hatteraick an alms, rather for his ill than his good.j 
One day he came to the yait (gate) of Samuelston,! 
when some friends after dinner were going to horse. i 
A young gentleman, brother to the lady, seeing him,i 
switched him about the ears, saying, — ' You warlock' 
carle, what have you to do here V Whereupon the! 
fellow goes away grumbling, and was overheard to! 
say, ' You shall dear buy this, ere it be long.' Thisl 
was damnum minatum. The young gentleman 1 
conveyed his friends a far way off, and came home 
that way again, where he supped. After supper, tak- 
ing his horse and crossing Tyne water to go home, 
he rides through a shady piece of a haugh, commonly 
called Allers, and the evening being somewhat dark, 
he met with some persons there that begat a dreadful 
consternation in him, which for the most part he 
would never reveal. This was malum secutum. 
When he came home, the servants observed terror 
and fear in his countenance. The next day he be- 
came distracted, and was bound for several days. 
His sister, the Lady Samuelston, hearing of it, was 
heard say, ' Surely that knave Hatteraick is the. cause 
of his trouble ; call for him in all haste.' When he 
had come to her, ' Sandie,' says she, ' what is this 
you have done to my brother William'?' — 'I told 
him,' says he, ' I should make him repent of his 
striking me at the yait, lately.' She, giving the rogue 
fair words, and promising him his pockful of meal, 
with beef and cheese, persuaded the fellow to cure 
him again. He undertook the business ; ' but I must 
first,' says he, ' have one of his sarks' (shirts), which 
was soon gotten. What pranks he played with it can- 
not be known ; but within a short while the gentle- 
man recovered his health. When Hatteraick came 
to receive his wages, he told the lady, ' Your brother 
William shall quickly go off the country, but shall 
never return.' She, knowing the fellow's prophecies 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 257 

to hold true, caused the brother to make a disposition 
to her of all his patrimony, to the defrauding of his 
younger brother, George. After that this warlock 
had abused the country for a long time, he was at last 
apprehended at Dunbar, and brought into Edinburgh, 
and burnt upon the Castlehill."* 

Now, if Hatteraick was really put to death on 
such evidence, it is worth while to consider what was 
its real amount. A hot-tempered swaggering young 
gentleman horsewhips a beggar of ill fame for loiter- 
ing about the gate of his sister's house. The beggar 
grumbles, as any man would. The young man, rid- 
ing in the night, and probably in liquor, through a 
dark shady place, is frightened by he would not, and 
probably could not, tell what, and has a fever-fit. 
His sister employs the wizard to take off the spell 
according to his profession; and here is damnum 
minatum, et malum secutum, and all legal cause for 
burning a man to ashes ! The vagrant Hatteraick 
probably knew something of the wild young man 
which might soon oblige him to leave the country ; 
and the selfish Lady Samuelston, learning the 
probability of his departure, committed a fraud 
which ought to have rendered her evidence in- 
admissible. 

Besides these particular disadvantages, to which 
the parties accused of this crime in Scotland were 
necessarily exposed, both in relation to the judicature 
by which they were tried, and the evidence upon 
which they were convicted, their situation was ren- 
dered intolerable by the detestation in which they 
were held by all ranks. The gentry hated them, 
because the diseases and death of their relations and 
children were often imputed to them; the grossly 
superstitious vulgar abhorred them with still more 
perfect dread and loathing. And among those 
natural feelings, others of a less pardonable descrip- 

* Sinclair's Satan's Invisible World discovered, p. 98. 

Y2 



258 LETTERS ON 

tion found means to shelter themselves. In one 
case, we are informed by Mackenzie, a poor girl was 
to die for witchcraft, of whom the real crime was, !| 
that she had attracted too great a share, in the lady's , 
opinion, of the attention of the laird. 

Having thus given some reasons why the prosecu- 
tions for witchcraft in Scotland were so numerous 
and fatal, we return to the general history of the I 
trials recorded from the reign of James V. to the j 
union of the kingdoms. Through the reign of Queen ! 
Mary these trials for sorcery became numerous, and j 
the crime was subjected to heavier punishment by I 
the 73d act of her 9th Parliament. But when James I 
VI. approached to years of discretion, the extreme I 
anxiety which he displayed to penetrate more deeply I 
into mysteries which others had regarded as a very I 
millstone of obscurity, drew still larger attention to I 
the subject. The sovereign had exhausted his talents ., 
of investigation on the subject of witchcraft, and I 
credit was given to all who acted in defence of the 
opinions of the reigning prince. This natural ten- 
dency to comply -with the opinions of the sovereign, j 
was much augmented by the disposition of the Kirk 
to the same sentiments. We have already said that I 
these venerable persons entertained, with good faith, I 
the general erroneous belief respecting witchcraft, — 
regarding it indeed as a crime which affected their 
own order more nearly than others in the state, since, 
especially called to the service of heaven, they were 
peculiarly bound to oppose the incursions of Satan. 
The works which remain behind them show, among 
better things, an unhesitating belief in what were | 
called by them "special providences;" and this was I 
equalled, at least, by their credulity as to the actual 
interference of evil spirits in the affairs of this world. 
They applied these principles of belief to the meanest 
causes. A horse falling lame was a snare of the 
Devil, to keep the good clergyman from preaching; 
the arrival of a skilful farrier was accounted a special 



DEM0N0L0GT AND WITCHCRAFT. 



259 



providence, to defeat the purpose of Satan. This 
was, doubtless, in a general sense true, since nothing 
can happen without the foreknowledge and will of 
Heaven ; but we are authorized to believe that the 
period of supernatural interference has long passed 
away, and' that the great Creator is content to ex- 
ecute his purposes by the operation of those laws 
which influence the general course of nature. Our 
ancient Scottish divines thought otherwise. Sur- 
rounded,asthey conceived themselves, by the snares 
and temptations of hell, and relying on the aid of 
Heaven, they entered into war with the kingdom of 
Satan, as the crusaders of old invaded the land of 
Palestine, with the same confidence in the justice of 
their cause, and similar indifference concerning the 
feelings of those whom they accounted the enemies 
of God and man. We have already seen that even 
the eonvietion that a woman was innocent of the 
crime of witchcraft did not induce a worthy clergy- 
man to use any sffort to withdraw her from the 
stake ; and in trie same collection,* there occur some 
observable passage of God's providence to a godly 
minister, in giving him " full clearness" concerning 
Bessie Grahame, suspected of witchcraft. The 
whole detail is a curious illustration of the spirit of 
credulity which well-disposed men brought with them 
to such investigations, and how easily the gravest 
doubts were removed, rather than a witch should be 
left undetected. 

Bessie Grahame had been committed, it would 
seem, under suspicions of no great weight, since the 
minister, aftervarious conferences, found her defence 
so successful, that he actually pitied her hard usage, 
and wished for her delivery from prison, especially as 
he doubted whether a civil court would send her to 
an assize, or whether an assize would be disposed 

* Satan's Invisible World, by Mr. George Sinclair. The author was 
Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Glasgow, and after- 
ward minister of Eastwood, in Renfrewshire. 



260 LETTERS ON 

to convict her. While the minister was in this doubt, 
a fellow named Begg was employed as a skilful? 
pricker ; by whose authority it is not said, he thrust; 
a great brass pin up to the head in a wart on thef 1 
woman's back, which he affirmed to be the Devil's 
mark. A commission was granted for trial ; but still| 
the chief gentlemen in the county refused to act, and.l 
the clergyman's own doubts were far from being re- 1 
moved. This put the worthy man upon a solemn 
prayer to God, " that if he would find out a way for 
giving the minister full clearness of her guilt, he I 
would acknowledge it as a singular favour and; 
mercy." This, according to his idea, was accom- 1 
plished in the following manner, which he regarded 
as an answer to his prayer. One evening the cler- 
gyman, with Alexander Simpson, the kirk-officer, and I 
his own servant, had visited Bessie in her cell, to urge I 
her to confession, but in vain. As they stood on the 
stair head behind the door, they heard the prisoner, 
whom they had left alone in her place of confinement, 
discoursing with another person, who used a low and | 
ghostly tone, which the minister instantly recognised [ 
as the Foul Fiend's voice. But for this discovery, I 
we should have been of opinion that Bessie Grahame 
talked to herself, as melancholy and despairing I 
wretches are in the habit of doing. But as Alexander 
Simpson pretended to understand the sense of what 
was said within the cell, and the minister himself 
was pretty sure he heard two voices at the same time, 
he regarded the overhearing this conversation as the ! 
answer of the Deity to his petition — and thenceforth 
was troubled with no doubts either as to the 
reasonableness and propriety of his prayer, or the 
guilt of Bessie Grahame, though she died obstinate, 
and would not confess ; nay, made a most decent 
and Christian end, acquitting her judges and jury of 
her blood, in respect of the strong delusion under 
which they laboured. 
Although the ministers, whose opinions were but 



BEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCKAFT. 261 

loo strongly, on this head, in correspondence with 
the prevailing superstitions of the people, nourished, 
in the early system of church government, a con- 
siderable desire to secure their own immunities and 
privileges as a national church, which failed not at 
last to be brought into contact with the king's pre- 
rogative ; yet, in the earlier part of his reign, James, 
when freed from the influence of such a favourite as 
the profligate Stuart, Earl of Arran, was, in his per- 
sonal qualities, rather acceptable to the clergy of his 
kingdom and period. At his departing from Scotland, 
on his romantic expedition to bring home a consort 
from Denmark, he very politically recommended to 
the clergy to contribute all that lay in their power to 
assist the civil magistrates, and preserve the public 
peace of the kingdom. The king, after his return, 
acknowledged, with many thanks, the care which the 
clergy had bestowed in this particular. Nor were 
they slack in assuming the merit to themselves, for 
they often reminded him, in their future discords, that 
his kingdom had never been so quiet as during his 
voyage to Denmark, when the clergy were, in a great 
measure, intrusted with the charge of the public 
government. 

During the halcyon period of union between kirk 
and king, their hearty agreement on the subject of 
witchcraft failed not to heat the fires against the per- 
sons suspected of such iniquity. The clergy con- 
sidered that the Roman Catholics, their principal 
enemies, were equally devoted to the Devil, the 
mass, and the witches, which, in their opinion, were 
mutually associated together, and natural allies in 
the great cause of mischief. On the other hand, the 
pedantic sovereign having exercised his learning and 
ingenuity in the Demonologia, considered the execu- 
tion of every witch who was burned, as a necessary 
conclusion of his own royal syllogisms. The juries 
were also afraid of the consequences of acquittal to 
themselves, being liable to suffer under an assize of 



262 LETTERS ON 

error, should they be thought to have been unjustly 
merciful ; and as the witches tried were personally 
as insignificant as the charge itself was odious, there 
was no restraint whatever upon those in whose hands 
their fate lay, and there seldom wanted some such 
confession as we have often mentioned, or such evi- 
dence as that collected by the minister who over- 
heard the dialogue between the witch and her master, 
to salve their consciences, and reconcile them to 
bring in a verdict of Guilty. 

The execution of witches became, for these rea- 
sons, very common in Scotland, where the king 
seemed in some measure to have made himself a 
party in the cause, and the clergy esteemed them- 
selves such from the very nature of their profession. 
But the general spite of Satan and his adherents 
was supposed to be especially directed against James, 
on account of his match with Anne of Denmark — 
the union of a Protestant princess with a Protestant 
prince, the King of Scotland, and heir of England, 
being, it could not be doubted, an event which struck 
the whole kingdom of darkness with alarm. James 
was self-gratified by the unusual spirit which he had 
displayed on his voyage in quest of his bride, and 
well disposed to fancy that he had performed it in 
positive opposition, not only to the indirect policy 
of Elizabeth, but to the malevolent purpose of hell 
itself. His fleet had been tempest-tossed, and he very 
naturally believed that the Prince of the power of 
the air had been personally active on the occasion. 

The principal person implicated in these heretical 
and treasonable undertakings, was one Agnes Simp- 
son, or Sampson, called the Wise Wife of Keith, and 
described by Archbishop Spottiswood, not as one of 
the base or ignorant class of ordinary witches, but 
a grave matron, composed and deliberate in her an- 
swers, which were all to some purpose. This grave 
dame, from the terms of her endictment, seems to 
have been a kind of white witch, affecting to cure 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 263 

diseases by words and charms, a dangerous profes- 
sion considering the times in which she lived. Nei- 
ther did she always keep the right and sheltered side 
of the law in such delicate operations. One article 
of herendictment proves this, and at the same time 
establishes, that the Wise Woman of Keith knew 
how to turn her profession to account : for, being 
consulted in the illness of Isobel Hamilton, she gave 
her opinion, that nothing could amend her unless the 
Devil was raised; and the sick woman's husband 
startling at the proposal, and being indifferent per- 
haps about the issue, would not bestow the necessary 
expenses, whereupon the Wise Wife refused to raise 
the Devil, and the patient died. This woman was 
principally engaged in an extensive conspiracy to 
destroy the fleet of the queen by raising a tempest ; 
and to take the king's life by anointing his linen 
with poisonous materials, and by constructing 
figures of clay, to be wasted and tormented after the 
usual fashion of necromancy. 

Among her associates was an unhappy laciy ot 
much higher degree. This was Dame Euphane Mac- 
Calzean, the widow of a Senator of the College of 
Justice, and a person infinitely above the rank of the 
obscure witches with whom she was joined m her 
crime. Mr. Pitcairn supposes, that this connexion 
may have risen from her devotion to the Catholic 
faith, and her friendship for the Earl of Bothwell. 

The third person in this singular league of sor- 
cerers was Doctor John Fian, otherwise Cunmng- 
hame, who was schoolmaster at Tranent, and en- 
joyed much hazardous reputation as a warlock. 
This man was made the hero of the whole tale ot 
necromancy, in an account of it published at Eon- 
don, and entitled, "News from Scotland," which has 
been lately reprinted by the Roxburghe Club. It is 
remarkable that the Scottish witchcrafts were not 
thought sufficiently horrible by the editor of tins 

acC without addim to them the story of a filter 



264 LETTERS ON 

being applied to a cow's hair instead of that of the?, 
young woman for whom it was designed, and telling 
how the animal came lowing after the sorcerer to 
his school-room door, like a second Pasiphae, the 
original of which charm occurs in the story of Adu- 
leius.* v 

Besides these persons, there was one Barbara Na- 
pier, alias Douglas, a person of some rank ; Geillis 
Duncan, a very active witch, and about thirty other 
poor creatures of the lowest condition,— among the 
rest, and doorkeeper to the conclave, a silly old 
ploughman, called as his nickname Graymeal, who 
was cuffed by the Devil for saying simply, " God 
bless the king \ n 

When the monarch of Scotland sprung this strong 
covey of his favourite game, they afforded the 
Privy Council and him sport for the greatest part of 
the remaining winter. He attended on the examina- 
tions himself, and by one means or other, they were 
indifferently well dressed to his palate. 
_ Agnes Sampson, the grave matron before men- 
tioned, after being an hour tortured by the twisting 
of a cord around her head, according to the custom 
of the Bucaniers, confessed that she had consulted 
with one Richard Grahame concerning the probable 
length of the king's life, and the means of shorten- 
ing it. But Satan, to whom they at length resorted 
for advice, told them in French respecting King 
James, fl. est un homme de Dieu. The poor woman 
also acknowledged that she had held a meeting with 
those of her sisterhood, who had charmed a cat by 
certain spells, having four joints of men knit to its 
feet, which they threw into the sea to excite a tem- 
pest. Another frolic they had, when, like the weird 
sisters in Macbeth, they embarked in sieves with 
much mirth and jollity, the Fiend rolling himself 
before them upon the waves, dimly seen, and resenv 

* iMeii Jlpnlcii, Metamorphoses, lib. ii$, 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 265 

bling a huge haystack in size and appearance. They 
went on board of a foreign ship richly laden with 
wines, where, invisible to the crew, they feasted till 
the sport grew tiresome, and then Satan sunk the 
vessel and all on board. 

Fian, or Cunninghame, was also visited by the 
sharpest tortures, ordinary and extraordinary. The 
nails were torn from his fingers with smiths' pincers; 
pins were driven into the places which the nails 
usually defended; his knees were crushed in the 
boots, his finger-bones were splintered in the pil- 
niewinks. At length his constancy, hitherto sus- 
tained, as the bystanders supposed, by the help of 
the Devil, was fairly overcome, and he gave an ac- 
count of a great witch-meeting at North Berwick, 
where they paced round the church withershinns, 
that is in reverse of the motion of the sun. Fian 
then blew into the lock of the church-door, where- 
upon the bolts gave away, the unhallowed crew en- 
tered, and their master the Devil appeared to his 
servants in the shape of a black man occupying the 
pulpit. He was saluted with an " Hail, Master !" 
but the company were dissatisfied with his not ha- 
ving brought a picture of the king, repeatedly pro- 
mised, which was to place his majesty at the mercy 
of this infernal crew. The Devil was particularly 
upbraided on this subject by divers respectable-looking 
females, — no question, Euphane MacCalzean, Bar- 
bara Napier, Agnes Sampson, and some other ama- 
teur witch above those of the ordinary profession. 
The Devil, on this memorable occasion, forgot him- 
self, and called Fian by his own name, instead of 
the demoniacal sobriquet of Rob the Rowar, which 
had been assigned to him as Master of the Rows, or 
Rolls. This was considered as bad taste, and the 
rule is still observed at every rendezvous of forgers, 
smugglers, or the like, where it is accounted very 
indifferent manners to name an individual by his 
own name, in case of affording ground of evidence 
Z 



266 



LETTERS ON 



which may upon a day of trial be brought against 
him. Satan, something disconcerted, concluded 
the evening with a divertisement and a dance after 
his own manner. The former consisted in disin- 
terring a new buried corpse, and dividing it in frag- 
ments among the company, and the bail was main- 
tained by well-nigh two hundred persons, who 
danced a ring dance, singing this chant— 

" Cummer, gang ye before; Cummer, gang ye. 
Gif ye will not gang before, Cummers, let me." 

After this choral exhibition, the music seems to 
have been rather imperfect, the number of dancers 
considered. Geillis Duncan was the only instru- 
mental performer, and she played on a Jew's harp, 
called in Scotland a trump. Dr. Fian, muffled, led 
the ring, and was highly honoured, generally acting 
as clerk or recorder, as above mentioned. 

King James was deeply interested in those mys- 
terious meetings, and took great delight to be pre- 
sent at the examinations of the accused. He sent 
for Geillis Duncan, and caused her to play before 
him the same tune to which Satan and his com- 
panions led the brawl in North Berwick church- 
yard.* His ears were gratified in another way, for 
at this meeting it was said the witches demanded of 
the Devil why he did bear such enmity against 
the king? who returned the flattering answer, that 
the king was the greatest enemy whom he had in 
the world. 

Almost all these poor wretches were executed, 
nor did Euphane MacCalzean's station in life save 
her from the common doom, which was strangling 
to death, and burning to ashes thereafter. "The 
majority of the jury which tried Barbara Napier, 

* The music of this witch tunc is unhappily lost. But that of an- 
other, believed to have been popular on such occasions, is preserved. 
The silly hit chicken, ear cast her a pickle 
And she will grow inickle, 

And she will do good. 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 267 

having acquitted her of attendance at the North 
Berwick meeting, were themselves threatened with 
a trial for wilful error upon an assize, and could only 
escape from severe censure and punishment by- 
pleading Guilty, and submitting themselves to the 
king's pleasure. This rigorous and iniquitous con- 
duct shows a sufficient reason why there should be 
so few acquittals from a charge of witchcraft, whe re 
the juries were so much at the mercy of the crown. 

It would be disgusting to follow the numerous 
cases in which the same uniform credulity, the same 
extorted confessions, the same prejudiced and exag- 
gerated evidence, concluded in the same tragedy at 
the stake and the pile. The alterations and trench- 
ing which lately took place for the purpose of im- 
proving the Castlehill of Edinburgh, displayed the 
ashes of the numbers who had perished in this man- 
ner, of whom a large proportion must have been 
executed between 1590, when the great discovery 
was made concerning Euphane MacCalzean and the 
Wise Wife of Keith, and then accomplices, and the 
union of the crowns. 

Nor did King James's removal to England soften 
this horrible persecution. In Sir Thomas Hamilton's 
Minutes of Proceedings in the Privy Council, there 
occurs a singular entry, evincing plainly that the 
Earl of Mar and others of James's Council, were be- 
coming fully sensible of the desperate iniquity and 
inhumanity of these proceedings. I have modernized 
the spelling, that this appalling record maybe legible 
to all mv readers. 

" 1608, December 1. The Earl of Mar declared 
to the Council, that some women were taken in 
Brou^hton as witches, and being put to an assize, 
and convicted, albeit they persevered constant in 
their denial to the end, yet they were burned quick 
[alive], after such a cruel manner, that some of them 
died in despair, renouncing and blaspheming [Godl; 



268 LETTERS ON 

and others, half burned, brake out of the fire,* and 
were cast quick in it again, till they were burned to 
the death." 

This singular document shows, that even in the 
reign of James, so soon as his own august person 
was removed from Edinburgh, his dutiful Privy- 
Council began to think that they had supped full 
with horrors, and were satiated with the excess of 
cruelty, which dashed half-consumed wretches back 
into the flames from which they were striving to 
escape. 

But the picture, however much it may have been 
disgusting and terrifying to the Council at the time, 
and though the intention of the entry upon the re- 
cords was obviously for the purpose of preventing 
such horrid cruelties in future, had no lasting effect 
on the course of justice, as the severities against 
witches were most unhappily still considered neces- 
sary. Through the whole of the sixteenth and the 
greater part of the seventeenth century, little abate- 
ment in the persecution of this metaphysical crime 
of witchcraft can be traced in the kingdom. Even 
while the Independents held the reins of govern- 
ment, Cromwell himself, and his major-generals and 
substitutes were obliged to please the common people 
of Scotland by abandoning the victims accused of 
witchcraft to the power of the law, though the 
journals of the time express the horror and disgust 
with which the English sectarians beheld a practice 
so inconsistent with their own humane principle of 
universal toleration. 

Instead of plunging into a history of these events, 
which, generally speaking, are in detail as mono- 

* I am obliged to the kindness of Mr. Pitcairn for this singular ex- 
tract. — The southern reader must be informed, that the jurisdiction or 
regality of Broughton embraced Holyrood, Canongate, Leith, and other 
suburban parts of Edinburgh, and bore the same relation to that city as 
the borough of Southwark to London. 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 269 

tonous as they are melancholy, it may amuse the 
reader to confine the narrative to a single trial, having 
in the course of it some peculiar and romantic 
events. It is the tale of a sailor's wife, more tragic in 
its event than that of the chesnut-muncherinMacbeth.* 

Margaret Barclay, wife of Archibald Dein, burgess 
of Irvine, had been slandered by her sister-in-law, 
Janet Lval, the spouse of John Dein, brother of 
Archibald, and by John Dein himself, as guilty of 
some act of theft. Upon this provocation Margaret 
Barclay raised an action of slander before the church 
court, which prosecution, after some procedure, the 
kirk-session discharged, by directing a reconciliation 
between the parties. Nevertheless, although the 
two women shook hands before the court, yet the 
said Maraaret Barclay declared that she gave her 
hand only in obedience to the kirk-session, but that 
she still retained her hatred and ill-will against John 
Dein and his wife Janet Lyal. About tins time the 
bark of John Dein was about to sail for France, and 
Andrew Train, or Tran, Provost of the burgh of 
Irvine, who was an owner of the vessel, went with 
him to superintend the commercial part of the voy- 
age. Two other merchants of some consequence 
went in the same vessel, with a sufficient number 
of mariners. Margaret Barclay, the revengeful per- 
son already mentioned, was heard to imprecate 
curses upon the provost's argosy, praying to God 
that sea nor salt-water might never bear the ship, 
and that partans (crabs) might eat the crew at the 
bottom of the sea. 

When, under these auspices, the ship was absent 
on her voyage, a vagabond fellow, named John 
Stewart, pretending to have knowledge of jugglery, 
and to possess the power of a spaeman, came to the 
residence of Tran, the provost, and dropped explicit 

* A copy of the record of the trial which took place in Ayrshire 
was sent to me by a friend, wlio withheld his name, so that I can only 
thank him iu this general acknowledgment. 

Z2 



270 LETTERS ON 

hints that the ship was lost, and that the good 
woman of the house was a widow. The sad truth 
was afteiward learned on more certain infonnation. 
Two of the seamen, after a space of doubt and 
anxiety, arrived with the melancholy tidings that 
the bark, of which John Dein was skipper, and 
Provost Tran part owner, had been wrecked on the 
<,oast of England, near Padstow, when all on board 
nad been lost, except the two sailors who brought 
She notice. Suspicion of sorcery, in those days 
easily awakened, was fixed on Margaret Barclay, 
who had imprecated curses on the ship ; and on John 
Stewart, the juggler, who had seemed to know of 
the evil fate of the voyage before he could have 
become acquainted with it by natural means'. 

Stewart, who was first apprehended, acknow- 
ledged that Margaret Barclay, the other suspected 
person, had applied to him to teach her some magic 
arts, " in order that she might get gear, kyes milk, 
love of man, her heart's desire on such persons as 
had done her wrong, and, finally, that she might 
obtain the fruit of sea and land." Stewart declared 
that he denied to Margaret that he possessed the 
said arts himself, or had the power of communi- 
cating them. So far was well ; but, true or false, 
he added a string of circumstances, whether volun- 
tarily declared or extracted by torture, which tended 
to fix the cause of the loss of the bark on Margaret 
Barclay. He had come, he said, to this woman's 
house in Irvine, shortly after the ship set sail from 
harbour. He went to Margaret's house by night, 
and found her engaged, with other two women, in 
making clay figures ; one of the figures was made 
handsome, with fair hair, supposed to represent 
Provost Tran. They then proceeded to mould a 
figure of a ship in clay, and during this labour the 
Devil appeared to the company in the shape of a 
handsome black lap-dog, such as ladies use to keep.* 

* This may remind the reader of Cazoue's DiableAmoureux. 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 271 

He added, that the whole party left the house to- 
gether, and went into an empty wastehouse nearer 
the seaport, which house he pointed out to the city 
magistrates. From this house they went to the 
seaside, followed by the biaek lap-dog aforesaid, 
and cast in the figures of clay representing the ship 
and the men ; after which the sea raged, roared, and 
became red like the juice of madder in a dier s 
caldron. , 

This confession having been extorted from the un- 
fortunate juggler, the female acquaintances of Mar- 
garet Barclay were next convened, that he might 
point out her associates in forming the charm, when 
he pitched upon a woman called Isobel Insh, or Tay- 
lor, who resolutely denied having ever seen him be- 
fore. She was imprisoned, however, m the beliry 
of the church. An addition to the evidence against 
ihe poor old woman Insh was then procured from 
her own daughter, Margaret Tailzeour, a child of 
eight years old, who lived as servant with Margaret 
Barclay, the person principally accused. 1 his child, 
who was keeper of a baby belonging to Margaret 
Barclay, either from terror, or the innate love of 
falsehood, which we have observed as proper to child- 
hood, declared, that she was present when the tatal 
models of clay were formed, and that in plunging 
them in the sea, Margaret Barclay her mistress, and 
her mother Isobel Insh, were assisted by another wo- 
man, and a girl of fourteen years old, who dwelt at 
the town-head. Legally considered, the evidence of 
this child was contradictory, and inconsistent with 
the confession of the juggler, for it assigned other 
particulars and dramatis persona in many respects 
different. But all was accounted sufficiently regu- 
lar, especially since the girl failed not to swear to 
the presence of the black dog, to whose appearance 
she also added the additional terrors of that ot a 
black man. The dog also, according to her account, 
emitted flashes from its jaws and nostrils, to lllumi- 



272 LETTERS ON 

nate the witches during the performance of the spell 
The child maintained this story even to her mother's 
face, only alleging that Isobel Insh remained behind 
in the wastehouse, and was not present when the 
images were put into the sea. For her own counte- 
nance and presence on the occasion, and to ensure 
her secrecy, her mistress promised her a pair of new 
shoes. 

John Stewart, being re-examined, and confronted 
with the child, was easily compelled to allow that 
the " little smatchet" was there, and to give that mar- 
vellous account of his correspondence with Elfland 
which we have noticed elsewhere. 

The conspiracy thus far, as they conceived, dis- 
closed, the magistrates and ministers wrought hard 
with Isobel Insh, to prevail upon her to tell the truth ; 
and she at length acknowledged her presence at the' 
time when the models of the ship and mariners were 
destroyed, but endeavoured so to modify her decla- 
ration as to deny all personal accession to the guilt. 
This poor creature almost admitted the supernatural 
powers imputed to her, promising Bailie Dunlop (also 
a manner), by whom she was imprisoned, that if he 
would dismiss her, he should never make a bad voy- 
age, but have success in all his dealings by sea and 
land. She was finally brought to promise, that she 
would fully confess the whole that she knew of the 
affair on the morrow. 

But finding herself in so hard a strait, the unfortu- 
nate woman made use of the darkness to attempt an 
escape. With this view she got out by a back win- 
dow of the belfry, although, says the report, there 
were " iron bolts, locks, and fetters on her ;" and at- 
tained the roof of the church, where, losing her foot- 
ing, she sustained a severe fall, and was o-reatly 
bruised. Being apprehended, Bailie Dunlop° ao-ain 
urged her to confess ; but the poor woman was deter- 
mined to appeal to a more merciful tribunal, and 
maintained her innocence to the last minute of hex 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 273 

life, denying all that she had formerly admitted, and 
dying five days after her fall from the roof of the 
church. The inhabitants of Irvine attributed hex 
death to poison. 

The scene began to thicken, for a commission 
was granted for the trial of the two remaining per- 
sons accused, namely, Stewart the juggler, and Mar- 
garet Barclay. The day of trial being arrived, the 
following singular events took place, which we give 
as stated in the record : — 

"My Lord and Earl of Eglintoune (who dwells 
within the space of one mile to the said burgh), ha- 
ving come to the said burgh at the earnest request 
of the said Justices, for giving to them of his lord- 
ship's countenance, concurrence, and assistance, in 
trying of the foresaid devilish practices, conform to 
the tenor of the foresaid commission, the said John 
Stewart, for his better preserving to the day of the 
assize, was put in a sure lockfast booth, where no 
maimer of person might have access to him till the 
downsitting of the Justice Court, and for avoiding 
of putting violent hands on himself, he was very 
strictly guarded, and fettered by the arms, as use is. 
And upon that same day of the assize, about half an 
hour before the downsitting of the Justice Court, 
Mr. David Dickson, minister at Irvine, and Mr. 
George Dunbar, minister of Air, having gone to him, 
to exhort him to call on his God for mercy for his 
bygone wicked and evil life, and that God would of 
his infinite mercy loose him out of the bonds of the 
devil, whom he had served these many years bygone, 
he acquiesced in their prayer and godly exhortation, 
and uttered these words : ' I am so straitly guarded, 
that it lies not in my power to get my hand to take 
off my bonnet, nor to get bread to my mouth.' And 
immediately after the departing of the two ministers 
from him, the juggler being sent for at the desire of 
my Lord of Eglintoune, to be confronted with a wo- 
man of the burgh of Air, called Janet Bous, who was 



274 LETTERS ON 

apprehended by the magistrates of the burgh of Air 
for witchcraft, and sent to the burgh of Irvine pur- 
posely for that affair, he was found by the burgh offi- 
cers who went about him, strangled and hanged by 
the crmk of the door, with a tail of hemp, or a string 
made of hemp, supposed to have been his garter, or 
string of his bonnet, not above the length of two 
span long, his knees not being from the ground half 
a span, and was brought out of the house, his life 
not being totally expelled. But, notwithstanding 
of whatsoever means used in the contrary forremeid 
of his life, he revived not, but so ended his life mise- 
rably, by the help of the Devil his master. 

" And because there was then only in life the said 
Margaret Barclay, and that the persons summoned 
to pass upon her assize, and upon the assize of the 
juggler, who, by the help of the Devil his master, 
had put violent hands on himself, were all present 
within the said burgh; therefore, and for eschewing 
of the like in the person of the said Margaret, our 
sovereign lord's justices in that part, particularly 
above-named, constituted by commission, after so- 
lemn deliberation and advice of the said noble lord, 
whose concurrence and advice was chiefly required 
and taken in this matter, concluded with all possible 
diligence before the downsitting of the Justice 
Court, to put the said Margaret in torture; in respect 
the Devil, by God's permission, had made her asso- 
ciates, who were the lights of the cause, to be their 
own burrioes (slayers). They used the torture 
underwritten as being most safe and gentle (as tbe 
said noble lord assured the said justices), by putting 
of her two bare legs in a pair of stocks, and there- 
after by onlaying of certain iron gauds (bars), seve- 
rally, one by one, and then eiking aud augmenting 
the weight by laying on more gauds, and in easing 
of her by offtaking of the iron gauds one or more, 
as occasion offered, which iron gauds were but little 
short gauds, and broke not the skin of her legs. &c. 



DEMONTJLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 275 

" After using- of the which kind of gentle torture, 
the said Margaret began, according to the increase 
of the pain, to cry, and crave for God's cause to take 
off her shins the foresaid irons, and she should de- 
clare truly the whole matter. Which being removed, 
she began at her former denial : and being of new 
assayed in torture as of befoir, she then uttered these 
words : ' Take off, take off, and before God I shall 
show you the whole form !' 

" And the said irons being of new, upon her faith- 
full promise, removed, she then desired my Lord of 
Eglintoune, the said four justices, and the said Mr. 
David Dickson, minister of the burgh, Mr. George 
Dunbar, minister of Ayr, and Mr. Mitchell Wallace, 
minister of Kilmarnock, and Mr. John Cunninghame 
minister of Dairy, and Hugh Kennedy, provost of 
Ayr, to come by themselves, and to remove alJ 
others, f.nd she should declare truly, as she should 
answer to God, the whole matter. Whose desire in 
that being fulfilled, she made her confession in this 
manner, but (i. e. without) any kind of demand, 
freely, without interrogation ; God's name by earnest 
prayer being called upon for opening of her lips, and 
easing of her heart, that she, by rendering of the 
truth, might glorify and magnify his holy name, and 
disappoint the enemy of her salvation." — Trial of 
Margaret Barclay, ^-c, 1618. 

Margaret Barclay, who was a young and lively 
person, had hitherto conducted herself like a pas- 
sionate and high-tempered woman innocently ac- 
cused, and the only appearance of conviction ob- 
tained against her was, that she carried about her 
rowan-tree and coloured thread, to make, as she 
said, her cow give milk, when it began to fail. But 
the gentle torture — a strange junction of words — 
recommended as an anodyne by the good Lord 
Eglinton — the placing, namely, her legs in the stocks, 
and loading her bare shins with bars of iron, over- 
came her resolution; when, at her screams and 



276 LETTERS ON 

declarations that she was willing to tell all, the 
weights were removed. She then told a story of 
destroying the ship of John Dein, affirming, that it 
was with the purpose of killing only her brother-in- 
law and Provost Tran, and saving the rest of the 
crew. She at the same time involved in the guilt 
Isobel Crawford. This poor woman was also appre- 
hended, and, in great terror, confessed the imputed 
crime, retorting the principal blame on Margaret 
Barclay herself. The trial was then appointed to 
proceed, when Alexander Dean, the husband of Mar- 
garet Barclay, appeared in court with a lawyer to act 
in his wife's behalf. Apparently, the sight of her 
husband awakened some hope and desire of life, 
for when the prisoner was asked by the lawyer 
whether she wished to be defended, she answered, 
"As you please. But all I have confessed was 
in agony of torture ; and, before God, all I have 
spoken is false and untrue." To which she pathe- 
tically added — " Ye have been too long in coming." 

The jury, unmoved by these affecting circumstan- 
ces, proceeded upon the principle that the confession 
of the accused could not be considered as made 
uuder the influence of torture, since the bars were 
not actually upon her limbs at the time it was deli- 
vered, although they were placed at her elbow ready 
to be again laid on her bare shins, if she was less 
explicit in her declaration than her auditors wished. 
On this nice distinction, they in one voice found 
Margaret Barclay guilty. It is singular that she 
should have again returned to her confession after 
sentence, and died affirming it; — the explanation of 
which, however, might be, either that she had really 
in her ignorance and folly tampered with some idle 
spells, or that an apparent penitence for her offence, 
however imaginary, was the only mode in which she 
could obtain any share of public sympathy at her 
death, or a portion of the prayers of the clergy and 
congregation, which, in her circumstances, she 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 27? 

might be Avilling to purchase, even by confession of 
what all believed respecting her. It is remarkable, 
that she earnestly entreated the magistrates that 
no harm should be done to Isobel Crawford, the 
woman whom she had herself accused. This un- 
fortunate young creature was strangled at the stake, 
and her body burned to ashes, having died with many 
expressions of religion and penitence. 

It was one fatal consequence of these cruel per- 
secutions, that one pile was usually lighted at the 
embers of another. Accordingly, in the present case, 
three victims having already perished by this accusa- 
tion, the magistrates, incensed at the nature of the 
crime, so perilous as it seemed to men of a maritime 
life, and at a loss of several friends of their own, one 
of whom had been their principal magistrate, did not 
forbear to insist against Isobel Crawford, inculpated 
by Margaret Barclay's confession. A new commis- 
sion was granted for her trial, and after the assistant 
minister of Irvine, Mr. David Dickson, had made 
earnest prayers to God for opening her obdurate and 
closed heart, she was subjected to the torture of 
iron bars laid upon her bare shins, her feet being in 
the stocks, as in the case of Margaret Baiclay. 

She endured this torture with incredible firmness, 
since she did " admirably, without any kind of din 
or exclamation, suffer above thirty stone of iron to 
be laid on her legs, never shrinking thereat in any 
sort, but remaining, as it were, steady." But in 
shifting the situation of the iron bars, and removing 
them to another part of her shins, her constancy gave 
way ; she broke out into horrible cries (though not 
more than three bars were then actually on her per- 
son) of—" Tak aff— tak aff!" On being relieved from 
the torture, she made the usual confession of all that 
she was charged with, and of a connexion with the 
Devil which had subsisted for several years. Sen- 
tence was given against her accordingly. After this 
had been denounced, she openly denied all her formei 
A a 



278 LETTERS ON 

confessions, and died without any sign of repent 
ance, offering repeated interruptions to the minister 
in his prayer, and absolutely refusing to pardon the 
executioner. 

This tragedy happened in the year lfil3, and re- 
corded as it is very particularly, and at considerable 
length, forms the most detailed specimen I have met 
with, of a Scottish trial for witchcraft, — illustrating, 
in particular, how poor wretches, abandoned, as they 
conceived, by God and the world, deprived of all 
human sympathy, and exposed to personal tortures 
of an acute description, became disposed to throw 
away the lives that were rendered bitter to them, by 
a voluntary confession of guilt, rather than struggle 
hopelessly against so many evils. Four persons here 
lost their lives, merely because the throwing some 
clay models into the sea, a fact told differently by the 
witnesses who spoke of it, corresponded with the 
season, for no day was fixed, in which a particular 
vessel was lost. It is scarce possible that, after 
reading such a story, a man of sense can listen for an 
instant to the evidence founded on confessions thus 
obtained, which has been almost the sole reason by 
which a few individuals, even in modern times, have 
endeavoured to justify a belief in the existence of 
witchcraft. 

The result of the judicial examination of a crimi- 
nal, when extorted by such means, is the most suspi- 
cious of all evidence, and even when voluntarily 
given, is scarce admissible without the corroboration 
of other testimony. 

We might here take leave of our Scottish history 
of witchcraft, by barely mentioning that many hun- 
dreds, nay perhaps thousands, lost their lives during 
two centuries, on such charges and such evidence as 
proved the death of those persons in the trial of the 
Irvine witches. One case, however, is so much dis- 
tinguished by fame among the numerous instances 
which occurred in Scottish history, that we are 



DEM0N0L0GY AND WITCHCRAFT. 279 

under the necessity of bestowing a few words 
upon those celebrated persons, Major Wier and his 

sister* 

The case of this notorious wizard was remarkable 
chieflv from his being a man of some condition (the 
son of a gentleman, and his mother a lady of family 
in Clydesdale), which was seldom the case with those 
that fell under similar accusations. It was also re- 
markable in his case that he had been a Covenanter, 
and peculiarly attached to that cause. In the years 
of the Commonwealth, this man was trusted and em- 
ployed by those who were then at the head of affairs, 
and was, in 1 649, commander of the dty-guard of Edin- 
burgh, which procured him his title of Major. In this 
capacity he was understood, as was inde?d implied in 
the duties of that officer at the period, to be very strict 
in executing severity upon such Royalists as iell under 
his military charge. It appears that the Major wnh a 
maiden sister who had kept his house, was subject to 
fits of melancholic lunacy, an infirmity easily recon- 
cilable with the formal pretences which he made to 
a hi<m show of religious zeal. He was peculiar in 
his o-il't of prayer, and as was the custom oi the 
period, was often called to exercise this talent by the 
bedside of sick persons, until it fame to be observed, 
that, by some association, whk;h it was more easy 
to conceive than to explain, he could not pray with 
the same warmth and fluency of expression, unless 
he had in his hand a stick of peculiar shape and ap- 
pearance, which he generally walked with. It was 
noticed, in short, that when this stick was taken from 
him, his wit and talent appeared to forsake him. 
Th ; s Major Wier was seized by the magistrates on a 
strange whisper that became current respecting vile 
practices, which he seems to have admitted without 
either shame or contrition. The disgusting profli- 
gacies which he confessed, were of such a character, 
that it may be charitably hoped that most of them 
were the fruits of a depraved imagination, though he 



280 LETTERS ON 

appears to have been in many respects a wicked and 
criminal hypocrite. When he gad completed his 
confession, he avowed solemnly that he had not con! 
fessed the hundredth part of the crimes which he 
had committed. From this time he would answe? 
no interrogatory, nor would he have recourse to 
prayer, arguing, that as he had no hope whatever of 
escaping Satan, there was no need of incensing him 
by yam efforts at repentance. His witchcraft Seems 
to have been taken for granted on his own confes- 
sion ; as his endictment was chiefly founded on the 
same document, in which he alleged he had never 
seen the Devil, but any feeling he had of him was in 
the dark. He received sentence of death, which he 
suffered 12th April, 1670, at the Gallow-hill, between 
Leith and Edinburgh. He died so stupidly sullen 
and impenitent, as to justify the opinion that he was 
oppressed with a kind of melancholy frenzy the 
consequence perhaps of remorse, but such as urged 
him not to repent, but to despair. It seems probable 
that he was burned alive. His sister, with whom he 
was supposed to have had an incestuous connexion, 
was condemned also to death, leaving a stronger and 
more explicit testimony of their mutual sins than 
could be extracted from the Major. She gave as 
usual, some account of her connexion with the queen 
ol the fairies, and acknowledged the assistance she 
received from that sovereign in spinning an unusual 
quantity of yarn. Of her brother, she said, that one 
day a friend called upon them at noonday with a 
fiery chariot, and incited them to visit a friend at 
Dalkeith, and that while there her brother received 
information of the event of the battle of Worcester 
No one saw the style of their equipage except them- 
selves. On the scaffold, this woman, determinino-, 
as she said, to die "with the greatest shame possibl e r" 
was with difficulty prevented from throwing off her 
clothes before the people, and with scarce less trou- 
ble was she flung from the ladder by the executioner. 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 281 

Her last words were in the tone of the sect to which 
her brother had so long affected to belong: "Many," 
she said, " weep and lament for a poor old wretch 
like me; but alas! few are weeping for a broken 
Covenant." 

The Scottish prelatists, upon whom the Covenant- 
ers used to throw many aspersions respecting their 
receiving proof against shot from the Devil, and 
other infernal practices, rejoiced to have an oppor- 
tunity, in their turn, to retort on their adversaries the 
charge of sorcery. Dr. Hickes, the author of " The- 
saurus Septentrionalis," published on the subject of 
Major Weir, and the case of Mitchell, who fired at 
the Archbishop of St. Andrews, his book called " Ra- 
vaillac Redivivus," written with the unjust purpose 
of attaching to ihe religious sect to which the wiz- 
ard and assassin belonged the charge of having fos- 
tered and encouraged the crimes they committed or 
attempted. 

It is certain that no story of witchcraft or necro- 
mancy, so many of which occurred near and in 
Edinburgh, made such a lasting impression on the 
public mind, as that of Major Weir. The remains of 
the house in which he and his sister lived are still 
shown at the head of the Westbow, which as our 
readers may perceive from looking at the frontis- 
piece, has a gloomy aspect, well suited for a necro- 
mancer. It was at different times a brasier's shop, 
and a magazine for lint, and in my younger days 
was employed for the latter use ; but no family would 
inhabit the haunted walls as a residence : and bold 
was the urchin from the High-School who dared ap- 
proach the gloomy ruin, at the risk of seeing the 
Major's enchanted staff parading through the old 
apartments, or hearing the hum of the necromantic 
wheel, which procured for his sister such a character 
as a spinner. At the time I am writing, this last 
fortress of superstitious renown is in the course of 
being destroyed, in order to tj^e modem improve- 
Aa2 



282 LETTERS ON 

merits now carrying on in a quarter long thought 
unimprovable. 

As knowledge and learning began to increase, the 
gentlemen and clergy of Scotland became ashamed 
of the credulity of their ancestors, and witch trials, 
although not discontinued, more seldom disgrace our 
records of Criminal Jurisprudence. 

Sir John Clerk, a scholar and an antiquary, the 
grandfather of the late celebrated John Clerk of El- 
din, had the honour to be among the first to decline 
acting as a commissioner on the trial of a witch, to 
which he was appointed so early as 1678,* alleging, 
dryly, that he did not feel himself warlock (that is, 
conjurer) sufficient to be a judge upon such an in- 
quisition. Allan Ramsay, his friend, and who must 
be supposed to speak the sense of his many respect- 
able patrons, had delivered his opinion on the sub- 
ject in the "Gentle Shepherd," where Mause's ima- 
ginary witchcraft constitutes the machinery of the 
poem. 

Yet these dawnings of sense and humanity were 
obscured by the clouds of the ancient superstition on 
more than one distinguished occasion. In 1676, Sir 
George Maxwell of Pollock, apparently a man of 
melancholic and valetudinary habits, believed him- 
self bewitched to death by six witches, one man and 
five women, who were leagued for the purpose of 
tormenting a clay image in his likeness. The chief 
evidence on the subject was a vagabond girl, pre- 
tending to be deaf and dumb. But as her imposture 
was afterward discovered, and herself punished, it 
is reasonably to be concluded that she had herself 
formed the picture or image of Sir George, and had 
hid it, where it was afterward found, in consequence 
of her own information. In the mean time, five of 
the accused were executed ; and the sixth only es- 
caped on account of extreme youth. 

* See Fountainhall's Decisions, vol. i. p. 15 



DEM0N0L0GY AND WITCHCRAFT. 283 

A still more remarkable case occurred at Paisley, 
in 1697, where a young- girl, about eleven years of 
age, daughter of John Shaw of Bargarran, was the 
principal evidence. This unlucky damsel, beginning 
her practices out of a quarrel with a maid-servant, 
continued to imitate a case of possession so accu- 
rately, that no less than twenty persons were con- 
demned upon her evidence, of whom five were exe- 
cuted, besides one John Reed, who hanged himself 
in prison, or, as was charitably said, was strangled by 
the Devil in person, lest he should make disclosures 
to the detriment of the service. But even those who 
believed in witchcraft were now beginning to open 
their eyes to the dangers in the present mode of 
prosecution. " I own," says the Rev. Mr. Bell, in 
his MS. Treatise on Witchcraft, "there has been 
much harm done to worthy and innocent persons in 
the common way of finding out witches, and in the 
means made use of for promoting the discovery of 
such wretches, and bringing them to justice ; so that 
oftentimes old age, poverty, features, and ill fame, 
with such like grounds not worthy to be represented 
to a magistrate, have yet moved many to suspect and 
defame their neighbours, to the unspeakable preju- 
dice of Christian charity; a late instance whereof 
we had in the west, in the business of the sorceries 
exercised upon the Laird of Bargarran's daughter, 
anno 1697, a time when persons of more goodness 
and esteem than most of their calumniators were 
defamed for witches, and which was occasioned 
mostly by the forwardness and absurd credulity of 
diverse otherwise worthy ministers of the gospel, 
and some topping professors in and about the city 
of Glasgow."* 

Those who doubted of the sense of the law, or 
reasonableness of the practice, in such cases, began 



* Law's Memorialls, edited by C. K. Sharpe, Esq., Prefatory Notice, 
p. 93. 



284 LETTERS ON 

to take courage, and state their objections boldly. In 
the year 1704, a frightful instance of popular bigotry 
occurred at Pittenweem. A strolling vagabond, who 
affected fits, laid an accusation of witchcraft against 
two women, who were accordingly seized on, and 
imprisoned with the usual severities. One of the 
unhappy creatures, Janet Comfoot by name, escaped 
from prison, but was unhappily caught, and brought 
back to Pittenweem, where she fell into the hands of 
a ferocious mob, consisting of rude seamen and 
fisheis. The magistrates made no attempts for her 
rescue, and the crowd exercised their brutal pleasure 
on the poor old woman, pelted her with stones, 
swung her suspended on a rope between a ship and 
the shore, and finally ended her miserable existence 
by throwing a door over her as she lay exhausted on 
the beach, and heaping stones upon it till she was 
pressed to death. As even the existing laws against 
witchcraft were transgresssed by this brutal riot, a 
warm attack was made upon the magistrates and 
ministers of the town, by those who were shocked at 
a tragedy of such a horrible cast. There were an- 
swers published, in which the parties assailed were 
zealously defended. The superior authorities were 
expected to take up the affair, but it so happened, 
during the general distraction of the country con- 
cerning the Union, that the murder went without the 
investigation which a crime so horrid demanded. 
Still, however, it was something gained that the 
cruelty was exposed to the public. The voice of 
general opinion was now appealed to, and, in the 
long run, the sentiments which it advocates are com- 
monly those of good sense and humanity. 

The officers in the higher branches of the law 
dared now assert their official authority, and reserve 
for their own decision cases of supposed witchcraft, 
which the fear of public clamour had induced them 
formerly to leave in the hands of inferior judges, 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 285 

operated upon by all the prejudices of the country 
and the populace. , 

In 1718, the celebrated lawyer, Robert Dundas, ot 
Amiston, then King's Advocate, wrote a severe letter 
of censure to the Sheriff-depute of Caithness, in the 
first place, as having neglected to communicate 
officially certain, precognitions which he had led re- 
specting some recent practices of witchcraft in his 
county The Advocate reminded this local judge, 
that the duty of inferior magistrates, m such cases, 
was to advise with the King's Counsel, first, whether 
they should be made subject of a trial or not ; and, 
if so, before what court, and in what manner, it 
should take place. He also called the | magistrate :s 
attention to a report, that he, the Sherift-depute, in- 
tended to judge in the case himself; " a thing of too 
great difficulty to be tried without very deliberate ad- 
vice, and beyond the jurisdiction of an inferior court. 
The Sheriff-depute sends, with his apology, the pre- 
cognition* of the affair, which is one of the most non- 
sensical in this nonsensical department of the law. 
A certain carpenter, named William Montgomery, 
was so infested with cats, which as his servant-maid 
reported, " spoke among themselves," that he fell in 
a rage upon a party of these animals which had 
assembled in his house at Regular hours, and be- 
tween his Highland arms of knife, dirk, and broad- 
sword, and his professional weapon of an axe, he 
made such a dispersion that they were quiet tor the 
night. In consequence of his blows, two witches 
wire said to have died. The case of a third, named 
Nin-Gilbert, was still more remarkable. Her leg 
beimr broken, the injured limb withered, pmed, and 
finally fell off; on which the hag was enclosed in 
prison, where she also died : and the question which 

* The precognition is the record of the preliminary evidence on 
which the public officers charged, in Scotland, with duties in rusted 
to a grand jury in England, incur the responsibility of sending an 
accused person to trial. 



286 



LETTERS ON 



remained was, whether any process should he directed 
against persons whom, in her compelled confession, 
she had as usual, informed against. The Lord 
Advocate, as may be supposed, quashed all farther 
procedure. 

In 1720, an unlucky boy, the third son of James, 
Lord Torpichen, took it into his head, under instruc- 
tions, it is said, from a knavish governor, to play the 
possessed and bewitched person, laying the cause of 
his distress on certain old witches in Calder, near to 
which village his father had his mansion. The women 
were imprisoned, and one or two of them died ; but 
the crown counsel would not proceed to trial. The 
noble family also began to see through the cheat. 
The boy was sent to sea, and though he is said at one 
time to have been disposed to try his fits while on 
board, when the discipline of the navy proved too 
severe for his cunning, in process of time he became 
a good sailor, assisted gallantly in defence of the ves- 
sel against the pirates of Angria, and finally was 
drowned in a storm. 

In the year 1722, a Sheriff-depute of Sutherland, 
€aptam David Ross of Littledean, took it upon him, 
in flagrant violation of the then established rules of 
jurisdiction, to pronounce the last sentence of death 
for witchcraft which was ever passed in Scotland. 
The victim was an insane old woman belonging to 
the parish of Loth, who had so little idea of her situ- 
ation as to rejoice at the sight of the fire which was 
destined to consume her. She had a daughter lame 
both of hands and feet, a circumstance attributed to 
the witch's having been used to transform her into a 
pony, and get her shod by the Devil. It does not 
appear that any punishment was inflicted for this 
cruel abuse of the law on the person of a creature so 
helpless ; but the son of the lame daughter, he him- 
self distinguished by the same misfortune, was living 
so lately as to receive the charity of the present 
Marchioness of Stafford, Countess of Sutherland in 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 287 

her own right, to whom the poor of tier extensive 
country are as well known as those of the higher 
order. 

Since this deplorable action, there has been no 
judicial interference in Scotland on account of 
witchcraft, unless to prevent explosions of popular 
enmity against people suspected of such a crime, of 
which some instances could be produced. The re- 
mains of the superstition sometimes occur; there 
can be no doubt that the vulgar are still addicted to 
the custom of scoring above the breath* (as it is 
termed), and other counter-spells, evincing that the 
belief in witchcraft is only asleep, and might in re- 
mote corners be awakened to deeds of blood. An 
instance or two may be quoted, chiefly as facts 
known to the author himself. 

In a remote part of the Highlands, an ignorant and 
malignant woman seems really to have meditated 
the destruction of her neighbour's property, by 
placing in a cowhouse, or byre, as we call it, a pot 
of baked clay, containing locks of hair, parings of 
nails, and other trumpery. This precious spell was 
discovered, the design conjectured, and the witch 
would have been torn to piece*, had not a high-spi- 
rited and excellent lady in the neighbourhood ga- 
thered some of her people (though these were not 
very fond of the service), and by main force taken 
the unfortunate creature out of the hands of the 
populace. The formidable spell is now in my pos- 
session. 

About two years since, as they were taking down 
the walls of a building formerly used as a feeding- 
house for cattle, in the town of Dalkeith, there was 
found below the threshold-stone the withered heart 
of some animal, stuck full of many scores of pins ; 
—a counter-charm, according to tradition, against 

* Drawing blood, that is. by two cuts in the form of a cioss on the 
witch's forehead, confided in all throughout Scotland as the most pow 
erful counter charm. 



288 LETTERS ON 

the operations of witchcraft on the cattle which are 
kept within. Among- the almost innumerable droves 
of .bullocks which come down every year from the 
Highlands for the south, there is scarce one but has 
a curious knot upon his tail, which is also a precau- 
tion, lest an evil eye, or an evil spell, may do the 
animal harm. 

The last Scottish story with which I will trouble 
you, happened in or shortly after the year 1800, and 
the whole circumstances are well known to me. 
The dearth of the years in the end of the eighteenth, 
and beginning of this century, was inconvenient to 
all, but distressing to the poor. A solitary old wo- 
man, in a wild and lonely district, subsisted chiefly 
by rearing chickens, an operation requiring so much 
care and attention, that the gentry, and even the 
farmers' wives, often find it better to buy poultry at 
a certain age, than to undertake the trouble of bring- 
ing them up. As the old woman, in the present in- 
stance, fought her way through life better than her 
neighbours, envy stigmatized her as having some un- 
lawful mode of increasing the gains of her little 
trade, and apparently she did not take much alarm 
at the accusation. But she felt, like others, the 
dearth of the years alluded to, and chiefly because 
the farmers were unwilling to sell grain in the 
very moderate quantities which she was able to pur- 
chase, and without which, her little stock of poultry 
must have been inevitably starved. In distress on 
this account, the dame went to a neighbouring far- 
mer, a very good-natured, sensible, honest man, and 
requested him, as a favour, to sell her a peck of oats 
at any price. " Good neighbour," he said, " I am 
sorry to be obliged to refuse you, but my corn is 
measured out for Dalkeith market; my carts are 
loaded to set out, and to open these sacks again, and 
for so small a quantity, would cast my accounts 
loose, and create much trouble and disadvantage ; I 
dare say you will get all you want at such a place, or 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 289 

such a place." On receiving this answer, the old 
Woman's temper gave way. She scolded the wealthy 
farmer, and wished evil to his property, which was 
just setting off for the market. They parted, after 
some angry language on both sides; and sure enough, 
as the carts crossed the ford of the river beneath the 
farm-house, off came the wheel from one of them, 
and five or six sacks of corn were damaged by the 
water. The good farmer hardly knew what to think 
of this; there were the two circumstances deemed 
of old essential and sufficient to the crime of witch- 
craft — Damnum minatum,et malum secutum. — Scarce 
knowing what to believe, he hastened to consult the 
Sheriff of the county, as a friend rather than a ma- 
gistrate, upon a case so extraordinary. The official 
person showed him that the laws against witchcraft 
were abrogated, and had little difficulty to bring him 
to regard the matter in its true light of an accident. 
It is strange, but true, that the accused herself 
Avas not to be reconciled to the sheriff's doctrine so 
easily. He reminded her, that if she used her 
tongue with so much license, she must expose her- 
self to suspicions, and that should coincidences hap- 
pen to irritate her neighbours, she might suffer harm 
at a time when there was no one to protect her. He 
therefore requested her to be more cautious in her 
language for her own sake, professing, at the same 
time, his belief that her words and intentions were 
perfectly harmless, and that he had no apprehension 
of being hurt by her, let her wish her worst to him. 
She was rather more angry than pleased at the well- 
meaning sheriff's skepticism. " 1 would be laith to 
wish ony ill either to you or yours, sir," she said ; 
" for 1 kenna how it is, but something aye comes 
after my words when I am ill-guided, and speak 
ower fast." In short, she was obstinate in claiming 
an influence over the destiny of others by words and 
wishes, which might have in other times conveyed 
her to the stake ; for which her expressions, their 
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290 LETTERS ON 

consequences, and her disposition to insist upon 
their efficacy, would certainly of old have made her 
a fit victim. At present, the stoiy is scarcely worth 
mentioning-, but as it contains materials resembling 
those out of which many tragic incidents have 
arisen. 

So low, in short, is now the belief in witchcraft, 
that, perhaps it is only received by those half-crazy 
individuals who feel a species of consequence de- 
rived from accidental coincidences, which, were they 
received by the community in general, would go 
near, as on former occasions, to cost the lives of 
those who make their boast of them. At least one 
hypochondriac patient is known to the author, who 
believes himself the victim of a gang of witches, 
and ascribes his illness to their charms, so that he 
wants nothing but an indulgent judge to awake 
again the old ideas of sorcery. 



LETTER X 



Other mystic Arts independent of Witchcraft— Astrology— Its Influence 
during the 16ih and 17th Centuries — Base Ignorance of those who 
practised it — Lilly's History of his Life and Times — Astrologer's So- 
ciety — Dr. Lamh — Dr. Forrnan— Establishment of the Rnyal Society 
— Partridae — Connexion of Astrologers with elementary Spirits — Dr. 
Dun — Irish Superstition of the Banshie — Similar Superstition in the 
Highlands— Brownie— Ghosts — Belief of ancient Philosophers on that 
Suhjecl — Inquiry into the Respect due to such Tales in modern Times 
— Evidence of a Ghost as ai list a Murderer — Ghost of Sir George Vil- 
liers — Story of Earl St. Vincent — of a British General Officer — of an 
Apparition in France — of the second Lord Lyttelton — of Bill Jones — 
of Jarvis Mnicham— Trial of two Highlanders for the Murder of Ser- 
geant Davis, discovered by a Ghost— Disturbances at Woodstock, 
Anno 1/549— Imposture called the Stockwell Ghost — Similar Case in 
Scotland — Ghost appearing to an Exciseman — Story of a disturbed 
House discovered hy t he Firmness of the Proprietor — Apparition at 
Pi} mouth — A Club of Philosophers— Ghost Adventure of a Farmer 
— Trick upon a veteran Soldier — Ghost Stories recommended by the 
Skill of the Authors who compose them— Mrs. Veal's Ghost— Dun- 



DEMON0L0GY AND WITCHCRAFT. 291 

ton's Apparition Evidence— Effect of appropriate Scenery to encou- 
rage a Tendency to Superstition — Differs at distant Periods of Life — 
Niglit atGlainmis Castle about 1791— Visit to Dunvegan in 1814. 

While the vulgar endeavoured to obtain a glance 
into the darkness of futurity by consulting the witch 
or fortune-teller, the great were supposed to have a 
royal path of their own, commanding a view from a 
loftier quarter of the same terra incognita. This was 
represented as accessible by several routes. Physi- 
ognomy, Chiromancy, and other fantastic arts of 
prediction, afforded each its mystical assistance and 
guidance. But the road most flattering to human 
vanity, while it was at the same time most seductive 
to human credulity, was that of Astrology, the queen 
of mystic sciences, who flattered those who confided 
in her, that the planets and stars in their spheres figure 
forth and influence the fate of the creatures of mor- 
tality, and that a sage acquainted with her lore could 
predict, with some approach to certainty, the events 
of any man's career, his chance of success in life or 
in marriage, his advance in favour of the great, or 
answer any other horary questions, as they were 
termed, which he might be anxious to propound, pro- 
vided always he could supply the exact moment of 
his birth. This, in the sixteenth, and greater part 
of the seventeenth centuries, was all that was ne- 
cessary to enable the astrologer to erect a scheme 
of the position of the heavenly bodies, which should 
disclose the life of the interrogator, or Native, as he 
was called, with all its changes, past, present, and to 
come. 

Imagination was dazzled bv a prospect so splen- 
did; and we find that, in the sixteenth century, the 
cultivation of this fantastic science was the serious 
object of men whose understandings and acquire- 
ments admit of no question. Bacon himself allowed 
the truth which might be found in a well-regulated 
astrology, making thus a distinction between the art 
as commonly practised, and the manner in which it 



292 LETTERS ON 

might, as he conceived, be made a proper use of. But 
a grave or sober use of this science, if even Bacon 
could have taught such moderation, would not have 
suited the temper of those who, inflamed by hopes 
of temporal aggrandizement, pretended to understand 
and explain to others the language of the stars. 
Almost all the other paths of mystic knowledge led 
to poverty ; even the alchymist, though talking loud 
and high of the endless treasures his art was to pro- 
duce, lived from day to day, and from year to year, 
upon hopes as unsubstantial as the smoke of his fur- 
nace. But the pursuits of the astrologer were such 
as called for instant remuneration. He became rich 
by the eager hopes and fond credulity of those Avho 
consulted him, and that artist lived by duping others, 
instead of starving, like others, by duping himself. 
The wisest men have been cheated by the idea that 
some supernatural influence upheld and guided them ; 
and from the time of Wallenstein to that of Buona- 
parte, ambition and success have placed confidence 
in the species of fatalism inspired by a belief of the 
influence of their own star. Such being the case, the 
science was little pursued by those who, faithful in 
their remarks and reports, must soon have discovered 
its delusive vanity through the splendour of its pro- 
fessions ; and the place of such calm and disinte- 
rested pursuers of truth was occupied by a set of 
men, sometimes ingenious, always forward and assu- 
ming, whose knowledge was imposition, whose re- 
sponses were, like the oracles of yore, grounded on 
the desire of deceit, and who, if sometimes they were 
elevated into rank and fortune, were more frequently 
found classed with rogues and vagabonds. This was 
the more apt to be the case, that a sufficient stock of 
impudence, and some knowledge by rote of the terms 
of art, were all the store of information necessary 
for establishing a conjurer. The natural conse- 
quence of the degraded character of the professors, 
was the degradation of the art itself. Lilly, who 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 



293 



wrote the History of his own Life and Times, notices 
in that curious volume the most distinguished per- 
sons of his day, who made pretensions to astrology, 
and almost without exception describes them as pro- 
flio-ate, worthless, sharking cheats, abandoned to vice, 
and imposing, by the grossest frauds, upon the silly 
fools who consulted them. From what we learn of 
his own history, Lilly himself, a low-born, ignorant 
manTwhh some gloomy shades of fanaticism in his 
temperament, was sufficiently fitted to dupe others, 
and perhaps cheated himself, merely by perusing, at 
an advanced period of life, some of the astrological 
tracts devised^ by men of less f nmng, thoug h per- 
haps more pretence to science, than he himself might 
boast Yet the public still continued to swallow these 
gross impositions, though coming from such ^unwor- 
thy authority. The astrologers embraced different 
sides of the Civil War, and the king on one side, 
with the Parliamentary leaders on the other were 
both equally curious to know, and eager to believe, 
what Lilly, Wharton, or Gadbury had discovered 
from the heavens, touching the fortune of the strife. 
Lilly was a prudent person, contriving with some 
address to shift the sails of his prophetic bark, so as 
to suit the current of the time, and the gale oi tor- 
tune No person could better discover from various 
omens the course of Charles's misfortunes so soon 
as they had come to pass. In the time of the Com- 
monwealth, he foresaw the perpetual destruction oi 
The monarchy, and in 1660, this did not prevent his 
foreseeing the restoration of King Charles II. .He 
maintained some credit even among he better 
classes, for Aubrey and Ashmole both called them- 
selves his friends, being persons extremely credulous 
doubtless respecting the mystic arts. Once a-y ear, 
too, the astrologers had a public dinner or feast, where 
the knaves were patronised by the company of such 
fools as claimed the title of Philomaths ; that is, 
lovers of the mathematics, by which name were still 



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294 



LETTERS ON 



distinguished those who encouraged the pursuit of 
mystical prescience, the most opposite possible to 
exact science. Elias Ashmole, the " most honourable 
Esquire" to whom Lilly's Life is dedicated, seldom 
tailed to attend ; nay, several men of sense and know- 
ledge honoured this rendezvous. Congreve's picture 
of a man like Foresight, the dupe of Astrology and 
its sister arts, was then common in society? But 
the astrologers of the 17th century did not confine 
themselves to the stars. There was no province 
of fraud which they did not practise ; they were 
scandalous as panders, and as quacks sold potions fo^ 
the most unworthy purposes. For such reasons the 
common people detested the astrologers of the great, 
as cordially as they did the more vulgar witches of 
their own sphere. 

Dr. Lamb, patronised by the Duke of Bucking- 
ham, who, like other overgrown favourites, was in- 
clined to cherish astrology, was, in lfi40, pulled to 
pieces in the city of London by the enraged popu- 
lace, and his maid-servant, thirteen years after- 
ward, hanged as a witch at Salisbury. In the vil- 
lanous transaction of the poisoning of Sir Thomas 
Overbury, in King James's time, much mention was 
made of the art and skill of Dr. Forman, another 
professor of the same sort with Lamb, who was con- 
sulted by the Countess of Essex on the best mode 
of conducting her guilty intrigue with the Earl of 
Somerset. He was dead before the affair broke out, 
which might otherwise have cost him the gibbet, as 
it did all others concerned, with the exception only 
of the principal parties, the atrocious authors of the 
crime. When the cause was tried, some little pup- 
pets were produced in court, which were viewed by 
one party with horror, as representing the most hor- 
rid spells. It was even said that the Devil was 
about to pull down the court-house on their beino- 
discovered. Others of the audience only saw 
in them the baby figures on which dress-makers 



DEM0N0L0GY AND WITCHCRAFT. 295 

then, as now, were accustomed to expose new 
fashions. 

The erection of the Royal Society, dedicated to 
far different purposes than the pursuits of astrology, 
had a natural operation in bringing the latter into 
discredit; and although the credulity of the ignorant 
and uninformed continued to support some pre- 
tenders to that science, the name of Philomath 
assumed by these persons and their clients began 
to sink under ridicule and contempt. When Sir 
Richard Steele set up the paper called the Guardian, 
he chose, under the title of Nestor Ironside, to assume 
the character of an astrologer, and issued predic- 
tions accordingly, one of which, announcing the 
death of a' person called Partridge, once a shoe- 
maker, but at the time the conductor of an Astro- 
logical Almanack, led to a controversy, which was 
supported with great humour by Swift and other 
wags. I believe you will find that this, with Swift's 
Elegy on the sarnie person, is one of the last occa- 
sions in which astrology has afforded even a jest to 
the good people of England. 

This dishonoured science has some right to be 
mentioned in a treatise on Demonology, because 
the earlier astrologers, though denying the use of all 
necromancy, that is, unlawful or black magic, pre- 
tended always to a correspondence with the various 
spirits of the elements, on the principles of the Rosi- 
crucian philosophy. They affirmed they could bind 
to their service, and imprison in a ring, a mirror, or 
a stone, some fairy, sylph, or salamander, and com- 
pel it to appear when called, and render answers to 
such questions as the viewer should propose. It is 
remarkable that the sage himself did not pretend to 
see the spirit ; but the task of viewer, or reader, was 
intrusted to a third party, a boy or girl usually un- 
der the years of puberty. Dr. Dee, an excellent 
mathematician, had a stone of this kind, and is said 
to have been imposed upon concerning the spirits 



. 



296 LETTERS ON 

attached to it, their actions and answers, by the re 
port of one Kelly, who acted as his viewer. The 
unfortunate Dee was ruined by his associates both 
in fortune and reputation. His show-stone, or mir- 
ror, is still preserved, among other curiosities, in the 
British Museum. Some superstition of the same 
kind was introduced by the celebrated Count Cagli- 
ostro, during the course of the intrigue respecting 
the diamond necklace, in which the late Marie An- I 
toinette was so unfortunately implicated. 

Dismissing this general class of impostors, who 
are now seldom heard of, we come now briefly to 
mention some leading superstitions, once, perhaps, 
common to all the countries of Europe, but now re- 
stricted to those which continue to be irihabited by 
an undisturbed and native race. Of these, one of 
the most beautiful is the Irish fiction, which assigns 
to certain families of ancient descent and distin- I 
guished 'rank the privilege of a banshie, as she is ; 
called, or household fairy, whose office it is to appear, 
seemingly mourning while she announces the ap- 
proaching death of some one of the destined race. 
The subject has been so lately and beautifully inves- 
tigated and illustrated by Mr. Crofton Croker and 
others, that I may dispense with being very particu- > 
lar regarding it. If I am rightly informed, the dis- 
tinction of a banshie is only allowed to families of 
the pure Milesian stock, and is never ascribed to any 
descendant of the proudest Norman or boldest Saxon 
who followed the banner of Earl Strongbow, much 
less to adventurers of later date who have obtained 
settlements in the Green Isle. 

Several families of the Highlands of Scotland an- 
ciently laid claim to the distinction of an attendant 
spirit, who performed the office of the Irish banshie. 
Among them, however, the functions of this attend- 
ant genius, whose form and appearance differed in 
different cases, were not limited to announcing the 
dissolution of those whose days were numbered. 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 297 

The Highlanders contrived to exact from them other 
points of service, sometimes as warding off dangers 
of battle ; at others, as guarding and protecting the 
infant heir through the dangers of childhood; and 
sometimes as condescending to interfere even in the 
sports of the chieftain, and point out the fittest move 
to be made at chess, or the best card to be played at. 
any other game. Among those spirits who have 
deigned to vouch their existence by appearance of 
late years, is that of an ancestor of the family of 
MacLean of Lochbuy. Before the death of any of 
his race, the phantom-chief gallops along the sea- 
beach, near to the castle, announcing the event by 
cries and lamentations. The spectre is said to have 
rode his rounds and uttered his death-cries within 
these few years, in consequence of which, the family 
and clan, though much shocked, were in no way 
surprised, to hear, by next accounts, that their gal- 
lant chief was dead at Lisbon, where he served 
under Lord Wellington. 

Of a meaner origin and occupation was the Scot- 
tish Brownie— already mentioned, as somewhat re- 
sembling Robin Goodfellow in the frolicsome days 
of Old England. This spirit was easily banished, 
or, as it was styled, hired away, by the offer of 
clothes or food ; but many of the simple inhabitants 
could little see the prudence of parting with such a 
useful domestic drudge,who served faithfully, without 
fee and reward, food or raiment. Neither was it at 
all times safe to reject Biownie's assistance. Thus, 
we are informed by Brand, that a young man in the 
Orkneys " used to brew, and sometimes read upon 
his Bible ; to whom an old woman in the house said, 
that Brownie was displeased with that book he read 
upon, which, if he continued to do, they would get 
no more service of Brownie ; but he being better in- 
structed fiom that book, which was Brownie's eye- 
sore, and the object of his wrath, when he brewed, 
would not suffer any sacrifice to be given to Brownie ; 



298 LETTERS ON 

whereupon the first and second brewings were 
spoiled, and for no use; for though the wort wrought 
well, yet in a little time it left off working, and grew 
cold; but of the third broust, or brewing, he had ale 
very good, though he would not give any sacrifice 
to Brownie, with whom afterward they were no 
more troubled." Another story of the same kind 
is told of a lady in Uist, who refused, on religious 
grounds, the usual sacrifice to this domestic spirit. 
The first and second brewings failed, but the third 
succeeded; and thus, when Brownie lost the per- 
quisite to which he had been so long accustomed, 
he abandoned the inhospitable house, where his ser- 
vices had so long been faithfully rendered. The 
last place in the south of Scotland supposed to have 
been honoured, or benefited, by the residence of a 
Brownie, was Bodsbeck, in Moffatdale, which has 
been the subject of an entertaining tale by Mr. 
J nines Hogg, the self-instructed genius of Ettrick 
Forest. 

These particular superstitions, however, are too 
limited, and too much obliterated from recollection, 
to call for special discussion. The general faith in 
fairies has already undergone our consideration ; but 
something remains to be said upon another species 
of superstition, so general, that it may be called 
proper to mankind in every climate; so deeply 
rooted also in human belief, that it is found to sur- 
vive in states of society during which all other fic- 
tions of the same order aie entirely dismissed from 
influence. Mr. Crabbe, with his usual felicity, has 
called the belief in ghosts " the last lingering fiction 
of the brain." 

Nothing appears more simple at the first view of 
the subject, than that human memory should recall 
and bring back to the eye of the imagination, in per- 
fect similitude, even the very form and features of a 
person with whom we have been long conversant, or 
which have been imprinted in our minds with indeli» 



DEM0N0L0GY AND WITCHCRAFT. 299 

ble strength, by some striking circumstances touch- 
ing our meeting in life. The son does not easily 
forget the aspect of an affectionate father ; and, for 
reasons opposite, but equally powerful, the counte- 
nance of a murdered person is engraved upon the re- 
collection of his slayer. A thousand additional cir- 
cumstances, far too obvious to require recapitulation, 
render the supposed apparition of the dead the most 
ordinary spectral phenomenon which is ever believed 
to occur among the living. All that we have for- 
merly said respecting supernatural appearances in 
general, applies with peculiar force to the belief of 
ghosts ; for whether the cause of delusion exists m 
an excited imagination or a disordered organic sys- 
tem, it is in this way that it commonly exhibits itself. 
Hence Lucretius himself, the most absolute of skep- 
tics, considers the existence of ghosts, and their fre- 
quent apparition, as facts so undeniable, that he en- 
deavours to account for them at the expense of as- 
senting to a class of phenomena veiy irreconcilable 
to his general system. As he will not allow of the 
existence of the human soul, and at the same time 
cannot venture to question the phenomena supposed 
to haunt the. repositories of the dead, he is obliged to 
adopt the belief that the body consists of several 
coats like those of an onion, and that the outmost 
and thinnest, being detached by death, continues to 
wander near the place of sepulture, in the exact re- 
semblance of the person while alive. 

We have said there are many ghost stones which 
we do not feel at liberty to challenge as impostures, 
because we are confident that those who relate them 
on their own authority actually believe what they 
assert, and may have good reason for doing so, 
though there is no real phantom after all. We are 
far, therefore, from averring that such tales are ne= 
cessarily false. It is easy to suppose the visionary 
has been imposed upon by a lively dream, a waking 
revery, the excitation of a powerful imagination, 01 



300 LETTERS ON 

the misrepresentation of a diseased organ of sight j 
and, in one or other of these causes, to say nothing 
of a system of deception which may in many in- 
stances be probable, we apprehend a solution will be I 
found for all cases of what are called real ghost stories^ 

In truth, the evidence with respect to such appari- I 
tions is very seldom accurately or distinctly ques- 
tioned. A supernatural tale is, in most cases, re- I 
ceived as an agreeable mode of amusing society, and I 
he would be rather accounted a sturdy moralist than 
an entertaining companion, who should employ him- 
self in assailing its credibility. It would indeed be 
a solecism in manners, something like that of im- < 
peaching the genuine value of the antiquities exhi- 
bited by a good-natured collector, for the gratification 
of his guests. This difficulty will appear greater, 
should a company have the rare good fortune to meet 
the person who himself witnessed the wonders which I 
he tells ; a well-bred or prudent man will, under such 
circumstances, abstain from using the rules of cross- 
examination practised in a court of justice ; and if 
in any case he presumes to do so, he is in danger of 
receiving answers, even from the most candid and 
honourable persons, which are rather fitted to sup- 
port the credit of the story which they stand com- 
mitted to maintain, than to the pure service of un- 
adorned truth. The narrator is asked, for example, I 
some unimportant question with respect to the appa- 
rition ; he answers it on the hasty suggestion of his : 
own imagination, tinged as it is with belief of the 
general fact, and by doing so, often gives a feature 
of minute evidence which was before wanting, and 
this with perfect unconsciousness on his own part. 
It is a rare occurrence, indeed, to find an opportunity 
of dealing with an actual ghost-seer : such instances, 
however, I have certainly myself met with, and that 
in the case of able, wise, candid, and resolute persons, 
of whose veracity I had every reason to be confident. 
But in such instances, shades of mental aberration* 



DEJIONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 301 

have afterward occurred, which sufficiently accounted 
for the supposed apparitions, and will incline me 
always to feel alarmed in behalf of the continued 
health of a friend, who should conceive himself to 
have witnessed such a visitation. 

The nearest approximation which can be generally 
made to exact evidence in this case, is the word 01 
some individual who has had the story, it may be, 
from the person to whom it has happened, but most 
likely from his family, or some friend of the family. 
Far more commonly, the narrator possesses no better 
means of knowledge than that of dwelling in the 
country where the thing happened, or being well ac- 
quainted with the outside of the mansion in the inside 
of which the ghost appeared. 

In every point, the evidence of such a secondhand 
retailer of the mystic story must fall under the 
adjudged case in an English court. The judge stop- 
ped a witness who was about to give an account of 
the murder, upon trial, as it was narrated to him by the 
o-host of the murdered person. " Hold, sir, said ms 
Fordship : " the ghost is an excellent witness, and his 
evidence the best possible; but he cannot be heard 
bv proxy in this court. Summon him hither, and i il 
hear him in person ; but your communication is mere 
hearsay, which my office compels me to reject. Y et 
it is upon the credit of one man, who pledges it upon 
that of three or four persons who have told it suc- 
cessively to each other, that we are often expected 
to believe an incident inconsistent with the laws ot 
nature, however agreeable to our love of the wonder- 
ful and the horrible. , . 

In estimating the truth or falsehood of such stones, 
it is evident we can derive no proofs from that period 
of society, when men affirmed boldly, and believed 
stoutly, all the wonders which could be coined or 
fancied. That such stories are believed and told by 
grave historians, only shows that the wisest men can- 
not rise in all things above the general ignorance ot 
C c 



302 LETTERS ON 

their age. Upon the evidence of such historians, we 
might as well believe the portents of ancient, or the 
miracles of modern, Rome. For example, we read 
in Clarendon, of the apparition of the ghost of Sir 
George Villiers to an ancient dependant. This is, no 
doubt, a story told by a grave author, at a time when 
such stories were believed by all the world ; but does 
it follow that our reason must acquiesce in a state- 
ment so positively contradicted by the voice of 
Nature, through all her works'? The miracle of 
raising a dead man was positively refused by our 
Saviour to the Jews, who demanded it as a proof of 
his mission ; because they had already sufficient 
grounds of conviction, and, as they believed them 
not, it was irresistibly argued by the Divine Person 
whom they tempted, that neither would they be- 
lieve if one arose from the dead. Shall we sup- 
pose that a miracle refused for the conversion of 
God's chosen people, was sent on a vain errand, 
to save the life of a profligate spendthrift ] I lay 
aside, you observe, entirely, the not unreasonable 
supposition that Towers, or whatever was the ghost- 
seer's name, desirous to make an impression upon 
Buckingham, as an old servant of his house, might 
be tempted to give him his advice, of which we are 
not told the import, in the character of his father's 
spirit, and authenticate the tale by the mention of 
some token known to him as a former retainer ot 
the family. The Duke was superstitious, and the 
ready dupe of astrologers and soothsayers. The 
manner in which he had provoked the fury of the 
people, must have warned every reflecting person of 
his approaching fate ; and, the age considered, it was 
not unnatural that a faithful friend should take this 
mode of calling his attention to his perilous situation 
Or, if we suppose that the incident was not a mere 
pretext to obtain access to the Duke's ear, the mes 
senger may have been imposed upon by an idle 
.dream — in a word, numberless conjectures might be 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 303 

formed for accounting for the event in a natural way, 
the most extravagant of which is more probable, 
than that the laws of nature were broken through in 
order to give a vain and fruitless warning to an ambi- 
tious minion. 

It is the same with all those that are called ac- 
credited ghost stories usually told at the fireside. 
They want evidence. It is true, that the general wish 
to believe, rather than power of believing, has given 
some such stories a certain currency in society. I 
may mention, as one of the class of tales I mean, 
that of the late Earl St. Vincent, who watched with 
a friend, it is said, a whole night, in order to detect 
the cause of certain nocturnal disturbances which 
took place in a certain mansion. The house was 
under lease to Mrs. Rioketts, his sister. The result 
of his lordship's vigil is said to have been, that he 
heard the noises, without being able to detect the 
causes, and insisted on his sister giving up the house. 
This is told as a real story, with a thousand different 
circumstances. But who has heard or seen an au- 
thentic account from Earl St. Vincent, or from his 
" companion of the watch," or from his lordship's 
sister 1 And as in any other case, such sure species 
of direct evidence would be necessary to prove the 
facts, it seems unreasonable to believe such a story 
on slighter terms. When the particulars are 
precisely fixed and known, it might be time to in- 
quire whether Lord St. Vincent, amid the other 
eminent qualities of a first-rate seaman, might not 
be in some degree tinged with their tendency to 
superstition ; and still farther, whether, having as- 
certained the existence of disturbances not imme- 
diately or easily detected, his lordship might not 
advise his sister rather to remove, than to remain in 
a house so haunted, though he might believe that 
poachers or smugglers were the worst ghosts by 
whom it was disturbed. 

The story of two highly respectable officers in 



304 LETTERS ON 

the British army, who are supposed to have seen 
the spectre, of the brother of one of them in a hut, 
or barrack, in America, is also one of those accre- 
dited ghost tales, which attain a sort of brevet rank 
as true, from the mention of respectable names as 
the parties who witnessed the vision. But we are 
left without a glimpse when, how, and in what terms, 
this story obtained its currency ; as also by whom, 
and in what manner, it was first circulated; and 
among the numbers by whom it has been quoted, 
although all agree in the general event, scarcely 
two, even of those who pretend to the best informa- 
tion, tell the story in the same way. 

Another such story, in which the name of a lady 
of condition is made use of as having seen an appa- 
rition in a country-seat in France, is so far better 
borne out than those T have mentioned, that I have 
seen a narrative of the circumstances, attested by 
the party principally concerned. That the house was 
disturbed seems to be certain, but the circumstances 
(though very remarkable) did not, in my mind, by any 
means exclude the probability that the disturbance and 
appearances were occasioned by the dexterous ma- 
nagement of some mischievously disposed persons. 

The remarkable circumstance of Thomas, the se- 
cond Lord Lyttelton, prophesying his own death 
Avithin a few minutes, upon the information of an 
apparition, has been always quoted as a true story. 
But of late it has been said and published, that the 
unfortunate nobleman had previously determined to 
take poison, and of course had it in his own power 
to ascertain the execution of the prediction. It was 
no doubt singular that a man, who meditated his exit 
from the world, should have chosen to play such a 
trick on his friends. But it is still more credible 
that a whimsical man should do so wild a thing than 
that a messenger should be sent from the dead, to 
tell a libertine at what precise hour he should expire. 

To this list, other stories of the same class might 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 305 

be added. But it is sufficient to show that such sto- 
ries as these, having gained a certain degree of cur- 
rency in the world, and bearing creditable names on 
their front, walk through society unchallenged, like 
bills through a bank, when they bear respectable en- 
dorsations, although, it may be, the signatures are 
forged after all. There is, indeed, an unwillingness 
very closely .to examine such subjects, for the secret 
fund of superstition in every man's bosom, is grati- 
fied by believing them to be true, or at least induces 
him to abstain from challenging them as false. And 
no doubt it must happen that the transpiring of inci- 
dents, in which men have actually seen, or conceived 
that they saw, apparitions which weie invisible to 
others, contributes to the increase of such stories,— 
which do accordingly sometimes meet us in a shape 
of veracity difficult to question. 

The following story was narrated to me by my 
friend Mr. William Clerk, chief clerk to the Jury 
Court, Edinburgh, when he first learned it, now nearly 
thirty years ago, from a passenger in the mail coach. 
With Mr. Clerk's consent, I gave the story at that 
time to poor Mat Lewis, who published it with a 
ghost-ballad which he adjusted on the same theme. 
From the minuteness of the original detail, however, 
the narrative is better calculated for prose than 
verse ; and more especially, as the friend to whom it 
was originally communicated, is one of the most 
accurate, intelligent, and acute persons whom I have 
known in the course of my life, I am willing to pre- 
serve the precise story in this place. 

It was about the eventful year 1800, when the Em- 
peror Paul laid his ill-judged embargo on British 
trade, that my friend, Mr. William Clerk, on a jour- 
ney to London, found himself in company, in the 
mail-coach, with a seafaring man of middle age and 
respectable appearance, who announced himself as 
master of a vessel in the Baltic trade, and a sufferer 
bv the embargo. In the course of the desultory 
Cc2 



306 LETTERS ON 

conversation which takes place on such occasions, 
the seaman observed, in compliance with a common 
superstition, " I wish we may have good luck on our 
journey — there is a magpie." — " And why should that 
be unlucky ?" said my friend. — " I cannot tell you 
that," replied the sailor ; " but all the world agrees 
that one magpie bodes bad luck — two are not so bad, 
but three are the Devil. I never saw three magpies 
but twice, and once I had near lost my vessel, and 
the second I fell from a horse, and was hurt." This 
conversation led Mr. Clerk to observe, that he sup- 
posed he believed also in ghosts, since he credited 
such auguries. " And if I do," said the sailor, " I 
may have my own reasons for doing so ;" and he 
spoke this in a deep and serious manner, implying 
that he felt deeply what he was saying. On being 
further urged, he confessed that, if he could believe 
his own eyes, there was one ghost at least which he 
had seen repeatedly. He then told his story as I 
now relate it. 

Our mariner had, in his youth, gone mate of a 
slave vessel from Liverpool, of which town he seemed 
to be a native. The captain of the vessel was a man 
of a variable temper, sometimes kind and courteous 
to his men, but subject to fits of humour, dislike, and 
passion, during which he was very violent, tyran- 
nical, and cruel. He took a particular dislike at one 
sailor aboard, an elderly man, called Bill Jones, or 
some such name. He seldom spoke to this person 
without threats and abuse, which the old man, with 
the license which sailor's take in merchant vessels, 
was very apt to return. On one occasion, Bill Jones 
appeared slow in getting out on the yard to hand a 
sail. The captain, according to custom, abused the 
seaman as a lubberly rascal, who got fat by leaving 
his duty to other people. The man made a saucy 
answer, almost amounting to mutiny, on which, in a 
towering passion, the captain ran down to his cabin, 
and returned with a blunderbuss loaded with slugs, 



DEM0N0L0GY AND WITCHCRAFT. 307 

with which he took deliberate aim at the supposed 
mutineer, fired, and mortally wounded him. The 
man was handed down from the yard, and stretched 
on the deck, evidently dying. He fixed his eyes on 
the captain, and said, " Sir, you have done for me, 
but / will never leave you." The captain, in re- 
turn, swore at him for a fat lubber, and said he would 
have him thrown into the slave-kettle, where they 
made food for the negroes, and see how much fat lie 
had got. The man died ; his body was actually 
thrown into the slave-kettle, and the narrator ob- 
served, with a naivete which confirmed the extent of 
his own belief in the truth of what he told, " There 
was not much fat about him after all." 

The captain told the crew they must keep abso- 
lute silence on the subject of what had passed; and 
as the mate was not willing to give an explicit and 
absolute promise, he ordered him to be confined be- 
low. After a day or two, he came to the mate, and 
demanded if he had an intention to deliver him up 
for trial when the vessel got home. The mate, who 
was tired of close confinement in that sultry climate, 
spoke his commander fair, and obtained his liberty. 
When he mingled among the crew once more, he 
found them impressed with the idea, not unnatural 
in their situation, that the ghost of the dead man ap- 
peared among them when they had a spell of duty, 
especially if a sail was to be handed, on which occa- 
sion the spectre was sure to be out upon the yard 
before any of the crew. The narrator had seen this 
apparition himself repeatedly— he believed the cap- 
tain saw it also, but he took no notice of it for some 
time, and the crew, terrified at the violent temper 
of the man, durst not call his attention to it. Thus, 
they held on their course homeward, with great fear 
and anxiety. 

At length, the captain invited the mate, who was 
now in a sort of favour, to go down to the cabin and 
take a glass of grog with him. In this interview, he 



308 LETTERS ON 

assumed a very grave and anxious aspect. " I need 
not tell you, Jack," he said, " what sort of hand we 
have got on board with us. He told me he would 
never leave me, and he has kept his word. You only 
see him now and then, but he is always by my side, 
and never out of my sight. At this very moment I 
see him— I am determined to bear it no longer, and I 
have resolved to leave you." 

The mate replied, that his leaving the vessel while 
out of the sight of any land was impossible. He 
advised, that if the captain apprehended any bad 
consequences from what had happened, he should 
run for the west of France or Ireland, and there go 
ashore, and leave him, the mate, to carry the vessel 
into Liverpool. The captain only shook his head 
gloomily, and reiterated his determination to leave 
the ship. At this moment, the mate was called to 
the deck for some purpose or other, and the instant 
he got up the companion-ladder, he heard a splash 
in the water, and looking over the ship's side, saw 
that the captain had thrown himself into the sea 
from the quarter-gallery, and was running astern at 
the rate of six knots an hour. When just about to 
sink, he seemed to make a last exertion, sprung half 
out of the water, and clasped his hands towards the 

mate, calling, " By , Bill is with me now !" and 

then sunk, to be seen no more. 

After hearing this singular story, Mr. Clerk asked 
some questions about the captain, and whether his 
companion considered him as at all times rational. 
The sailor seemed struck with the question, and an- 
swered, after a moment's delay, that in general he 
conversationed well enough. 

It would have been desirable to have been able 
to ascertain how far this extraordinary tale was 
founded on fact ; but want of time, and other circum- 
stances, prevented Mr. Clerk from learning the names 
and dates, that might, to a certain degree, have veri- 
fied the events. Granting the murder to have taken 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 309 

place, and the tale to have been truly told, there was 
nothing more likely to arise among the ship's com- 
pany than the belief in the apparition ; as the captain 
was a man of a passionate and irritable disposition, 
it was nowise improbable that he, the victim of 
remorse, should participate in the horrible visions of 
those less concerned, especially as he was compelled 
to avoid communicating his sentiments with any one 
else ; and the catastrophe would in such a case be 
but the natural consequence of that superstitious 
remorse which has conducted so many criminals to 
suicide or the gallows. If the fellow-traveller of 
Mr. Clerk be not allowed this degree of credit, he 
must at least be admitted to have displayed a singular 
talent for the composition of the horrible in fiction. 
The tale, properly detailed, might have made the 
fortune of a romancer. 

I cannot forbear giving you, as congenial to this 
story, another instance of a guilt-formed phantom, 
which made considerable noise about twenty years 
ago or more. I am, I think, tolerably correct in the 
details, though I have lost the account of the trial. 
Jarvis Matcham— such, if I am not mistaken, was 
the name of my hero— was pay-sergeant in a regi- 
ment, where he was so highly esteemed as a steady 
and accurate man, that he was permitted opportunity 
to embezzle a considerable part of the money lodged 
in his hands for pay of soldiers, bounty of recruits, 
then a large sum, and other charges which fell within 
his duty. He was summoned to join his regiment 
from a town where he had been on the recruiting 
service, and this perhaps under some shade of sus- 
picion. Matcham perceived discovery was at hand, 
and would have deserted, had it not been for the 
presence of a little drummer lad, who was the only 
one of his party appointed to attend him. In the 
desperation of his crime, he resolved to murder the 
poor boy, and avail himself of some balance of 
money to make his escape. He meditated this 



310 LETTERS ON 

wickedness the more readily, that the drummer, he 
thought, had been put as a spy on him He per- 
petrated his crime, and, changing his dress after the 
deed was done, made a long walk across the country 
to an inn on the Portsmouth road, where he halted, 
and went to bed, desiring to be called when the first 
Portsmouth coach came. The waiter summoned 
him accordingly; but long after remembered, that 
when he shook the guest by the shoulder, his first 
words as he awoke were, " My God ! I did not kill 
him." 

Matcham went to the seaport by the coach, and in- 
stantly entered as an able-bodied landsman or ma- 
rine, I know not which. His sobriety and attention 
to duty gained him the same good opinion of the offi- 
cers in his new service which he had enjoyed in the 
army. H a was afloat for several years, and behaved 
remarkably well in some actions. At length, the 
vessel came into Plymouth, was paid off, and some 
of the crew, among whom was Jarvis Matcham, were 
dismissed as too old for service. He and another 
seaman resolved to walk to town, and took the route 
by Salisbury. It was when within two or three 
miles of this celebrated city, that they were over- 
taken by a tempest so sudden, and accompanied 
with such vivid lightning, and thunder so dreadfully 
loud, that the obdurate conscience of the old sinner 
began to be awakened. He expressed more terror 
than seemed natural for one who was familiar with 
the war of elements, and began to look and talk so 
wildly, that his companion became aware that some- 
thing more than usual was the matter. At length, 
Matcham complained to his companion that the 
stones rose from the road and flew after him. He 
desired the man to walk on the other side of the high- 
way, to see if they would follow him when he was 
alone. The sailor complied, and Jarvis Matcham 
complained that the stones still flew after him, and 
did not pursue the other. " But what is worse," he 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 311 

added, coming up to his companion, and whispering, 
With a tone of mystery and fear, " who is that little 
drummer boy, and what business has he to follow us 
so closely ]"— " 1 can see no one," answered the 
seaman, infected by the superstition of his associate. 
" What ! not see that little boy with the bloody pan- 
taloons '." exclaimed the secret murderer, so much 
to the terror of his comrade, that he conjured him, 
if he had any thing on his mind, to make a clear 
conscience as far as confession could do it. The 
criminal fetched a deep groan, and declared that he 
was unable longer to endure the life which he had 
led for years. He then confessed the murder of the 
drummer, and added, that as a considerable reward 
had been offered, he wished his comrade to deliver 
him up to the magistrates of Salisbury, as he would 
desire a shipmate to profit by his fate, which he was 
now convinced was inevitable. Having overcome 
his friend's objections to this mode of proceeding, 
Jaryis Matcham was surrendered to justice accord- 
ingly, and made a full confession of his guilt. Eut 
before the trial the love of life returned. The pri- 
soner denied his confession, and pleaded Not Guilty. 
By this time, however, full evidence had been pro- 
cured from other quarters. Witnesses appeared from 
his former regiment to prove his identity with the 
murderer and deserter, and the waiter remembered 
the ominous words which he had spoken when he 
awoke him to join the Portsmouth coach. Jarvis 
Matcham was found Guilty, and executed. When 
his last chance of life was over, he returned to his 
confession, and with his dying breath averred, and 
truly, as he thought, the truth of the vision on Salis- 
bury plain. Similar stories might be produced, 
showing plainly that, under the direction of Heaven, 
the influence of superstitious fear may be the ap- 
pointed means of bringing the criminal to repentance 
for his own sake, and to punishment for the ad- 
vantage of society. 



312 LETTERS ON 

Cases of this kind are numerous, and easily ima- 
gined, so I shall dwell on them no farther ; but rather 
advert to at least an equally abundant class of ghost 
stories, in which the apparition is pleased not to tor- 
ment the actual murderer, but proceeds in a very 
circuitous manner, acquainting some stranger or igno- 
rant old woman with the particulars of his fate, v/ho, 
though perhaps unacquainted with all the parties, is 
directed by the phantom to lay the facts before a ma- 
gistrate. In this respect we must certainly allow 
that ghosts have, as we are informed by the facetious 
Captain Grose, forms and customs peculiar to them- 
selves. 

There would be no edification and little amuse- 
ment in treating of clumsy deceptions of this kind, 
where the grossness of the imposture detects itself. 
But occasionally cases occur like the following, with 
respect to which it is more difficult, to use James 
Boswell's phrase, " to know what to think." 

Upon the 10th of June, 1754, Duncan Terig, alias 
Clark, and Alexander Baid MacDonald, two High- 
landers, were [tried before the Court of Justiciary, 
Edinburgh, for the murder of Arthur Davis, sergeant 
in Guise's regiment, on the 28th of September, 1749. 
The accident happened not long after the civil war, 
the embers of which were still reeking, so there ex- 
isted too many reasons on account of which an 
English soldier, straggling far from assistance, might 
be privately cut off by the inhabitants of these wilds. 
It appears that Sergeant Davis was amissing foi 
years, without any certainty as to his fate. At 
length, an account of the murder appeared from the 
evidence of one Alexander MacPherson (a High- 
lander, speaking no language but Gaelic, and sworn 
by an interpreter), who gave the following extraor- 
dinary account of his cause of knowledge : — He was, 
he said, in bed in his cottage, when an apparition 
came to his bedside, and commanded him to rise 
and follow him out of doors. Believing this visiter 



DEMOXOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 313 

to be one Farquharson, a neighbour and friend, the 
witness did as he was bid; and when they were 
without the cottage, the appearance told the witness 
he was the ghost of Sergeant Davis, and requested 
him to go and bury his mortal remains, which lay 
concealed in a place he pointed out, in a moor- 
land tract called the Hill of Christie. He desired 
him to take Farquharson with him as an assistant, 
Next day the witness went to the place specified, 
and there found the bones of a human body much 
decayed. The witness did not at that time bury the 
bones so found, in consequence of which negligence 
the sergeant's ghost again appeared to him, upbraid- 
ing him with his breach of promise. On this occa- 
sion the witness asked the ghost who were the mur- 
derers, and received for answer that he had been 
slain by the prisoners at the bar. The witness, after 
this second visitation, called the assistance of Far- 
quharson, and buried the body. 

Farquharson was brought in evidence, to prove 
that the preceding witness, MacPherson, had called 
him to the burial of the bones, and told him the same 
story which he repeated in court. Isabel Mac- 
Hardie, a person who slept in one of the beds which 
run along the wall in an ordinary Highland hut, de- 
clared, that upon the night when MacPherson said 
he saw the ghost, she saw a naked man enter the 
house, and go towards MacPherson's bed. 

Yet, though the supernatural incident was thus 
fortified, and although there were other strong pre- 
sumptions against the prisoners, the stoiy of the ap- 
parition threw an air of ridicule on the whole evi- 
dence for the prosecution. It was followed up by 
the counsel for the prisoners asking, in the cross- 
examination of MacPherson, "What language did 
the ghost speak in ?" The witness, who was him- 
self ignorant of English, replied, "As good Gaelic 
as I ever heard in Lochaber." — " Pretty well for the 
ghost of an English sergeant," answered the counsel. 
Dd 



314 LETTERS ON 

The inference was rather smart and plausible than 
sound, for, the apparition of the ghost being admitted, 
we know too little of the other world to judge whe- 
ther all languages may not be alike familiar to those 
who belong to it. It imposed, however, on the jury, 
who found the accused parties Not Guilty; although 
their counsel and solicitor, and most of the court, 
were satisfied of their having committed the murder. 
In this case, the interference of the ghost seems to 
have rather impeded the vengeance which it was 
doubtless the murdered sergeant's desire to obtain. 
Yet there may be various modes of explaining this 
mysterious story, of which the following conjecture 
may pass for one. 

The reader may suppose that MacPherson was 
privy to the fact of the murder, perhaps as an accom- 
plice, or otherwise ; and may also suppose, that from 
motives of remorse for the action, or of enmity to 
those who had committed it, he entertained a wish 
to bring them to justice. But through the whole 
Highlands there is no character more detestable than 
that of an informer, or one who takes what is called 
Tascal-money, or reward for discovery of crimes. 
To have informed against Terig and MacDonald 
might have cost MacPherson his life ; and it is far 
from being impossible, that he had recourse to the 
story of the ghost, knowing well that his supersti- 
tious countrymen would pardon his communicating 
the commission intrusted to him by a being from the 
other world, although he might probably have been 
murdered, if his delation of the crime had been sup- 
posed voluntary. This explanation, in exact con- 
formity with the sentiments of the Highlanders on 
such subjects, would reduce the whole story to a 
stroke of address on the part of the witness. 

It is therefore of the last consequence, in consi . 
dering the truth of stories of ghosts and apparitions, 
to consider the possibility of wilful deception, whether 
on the part of those who are agents in the supposed 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 315 

disturbances, or the author of the legend. We shall 
separately notice an instance or two of either kind. 
The most celebrated instance in which human 
agency was used to copy the disturbances imputed 
to supernatural beings, refers to the ancient palace 
of Woodstock, when the Commissioners of the Long 
Parliament came down to dispark what had been 
lately a royal residence. The Commissioners ar- 
rived at Woodstock 13th October, 1649, determined 
to wipe away the memory of ail that connected it- 
self with the recollection of monarchy in England. 
But, in the course of their progress, they were en- 
countered by obstacles which apparently came from 
the next world. Their bedchambers were infested 
with visits of a thing resembling a dog, but which 
came and passed as mere earthly dogs cannot do. 
Logs of wood, the remains of a very large tree called 
the King's Oak, which they had splintered into 
billets for burning, were tossed through the house, 
and the chairs displaced and shuffled about. While 
they were in bed, the feet of their couches were 
lifted higher than their heads, and then dropped with 
violence. Trenchers "without a wish" flew at 
their heads, of free will. Thunder and lightning 
came next, which were set down to the same cause. 
Spectres made their appearance, as they thought, in 
different shapes ; and one of the party saw the appa- 
rition of a hoof, which kicked a candlestick and 
lighted candle into the middle of the room, and then 
politely scratched on the red snuff to extinguish it. 
Other and worse tricks were practised on the as- 
tonished Commissioners, who, considering that all 
the fiends of hell were let loose upon them, retreated 
from Woodstock without completing an errand 
which was, in their opinion, impeded by infernal 
powers, though the opposition offered was rather of 
a playful and malicious, than of a dangerous cast. 

The whole matter was, after the Restoration, dis- 
covered to be the trick of one of their own party, who 



316 LETTERS ON 

had attended the Commissioners as a clerk, under 
the name of Giles Sharp. This man, whose real 
name was Joseph Collins of Oxford, called Funny 
Joe, was a concealed loyalist, and well acquainted 
with the old mansion of Woodstock, where he had 
been brought up before the civil war. Being a bold, 
active, spirited man, Joe availed himself of his local 
knowledge of trap-doors and private passages, so as 
to favour the tricks which he played off upon his 
masters by aid of his fellow-domestics. The Com- 
missioners' personal reliance on him made his task 
the more easy, and it was all along remarked, that 
trusty Giles Sharp saw the most extraordinary sights 
and visions among the whole party. The unearthly 
terrors experienced by the Commissioners are de- 
tailed with due gravity by Sinclair, and also, I think, 
by Dr. Plott. But although the detection, or expla- 
nation of the real history of the Woodstock demons, 
has also been published, and I have myself seen it, 
I have at this time forgotten whether it exists in a 
separate collection, or where it is to be looked for. 

Similar disturbances have been often experienced, 
while it was the custom to believe in and dread such 
frolics of the invisible world, and under circum- 
stances which induce us to wonder, both at the 
extreme trouble taken by the agents in these impos- 
tures, and the slight motives from which they have 
been induced to do much wanton mischief. Still 
greater is our modern surprise at the apparently sim- 
ple means by which terror has been excited to so 
general an extent, that even the wisest and most 
prudent have not escaped its contagious influence. 

On the first point, I am afraid there can be no 
better reason assigned than the conscious pride of 
superiority, which induces the human being in all 
cases to enjoy and practise every means of employ- 
ing an influence over his fellow-mortals ; to which 
we may safely add, that general love of tormenting, 
as common to our race, as to that noble mimic of 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 317 

humanity, the monkey. To this is owing the delight 
with which every schoolboy anticipates the effects 
of throwing a stone into a glass shop ; and to this 
we must also ascribe the otherwise unaccountable 
pleasure which individuals have taken in practising 
the tricksy pranks of a goblin, and filling a house- 
hold, or neighbourhood, with anxiety and dismay, 
with little gratification to themselves besides the 
consciousness of dexterity if they remain undisco 
vered, and with the risk of loss of character, and 
punishment, should the imposture be found out. 

In the year 1772, a train of transactions commenc- 
ing upon Twelfth Day, threw the utmost consterna- 
tion into the village of Stockwell, near London, and 
impressed upon some of its inhabitants the inevitable 
belief that they were produced by invisible agents. 
The plates, dishes, china, and glass-ware, and small 
moveables of every kind, contained in the house of 
Mrs. Golding, an elderly lady, seemed suddenly to 
become animated, shifted their places, flew through 
the room, and were broken to pieces. The parti- 
culars of this commotion were as curious, as the loss 
and damage occasioned in this extraordinary manner 
were alarming and intolerable. Amid this combus- 
tion, a young woman, Mrs. Golding's maid, named 
Anne Robinson, was walking backwards and for- 
wards, nor could she be prevailed on to sit down 
for a moment, excepting while the family were at 
prayers, during which time no disturbance happened. 
This Anne Robinson had been but a few days in the 
old lady's service, and it was remarkable that she 
endured with great composure the extraordinary 
display which others beheld with terror, and coolly 
advised her mistress not to be alarmed or uneasy, as 
these things could not be helped. This excited an 
idea that she had some reason for being so composed, 
not inconsistent with a degree of connexion with 
what was going forward. The afflicted Mrs. Gold- 
ing, as she might be well termed, considering such a 
Dd2 



318 LETTERS ON 

commotion and demolition among her goods and 
chattels, invited neighbours to stay in her house, but 
they soon became unable to bear the sight of these 
supernatural proceedings, which went so far, that not 
above two cups and saucers remained out of a valu- 
able set of china. She next abandoned her dwelling, 
and took refuge with a neighbour, but, finding his 
moveables were seized with the same sort of St. 
Vitus's dance, her landlord reluctantly refused to 
shelter any longer a woman who seemed to be per- 
secuted by so strange a subject of vexation. Mrs. 
Golding's suspicions against Anne Robinson now 
gaining ground, she dismissed her maid, and the 
hubbub among her moveables ceased at once and for 
ever. 

This circumstance of itself indicates that Anne 
Robinson was the cause of these extraordinary dis- 
turbances, as has been since more completely ascer- 
tained by a Mr. Brayfield, who persuaded Anne, long 
after the events had happened, to make him her con- 
fidant. There was a love-story connected with the 
case, in which the only magic was the dexterity of 
Anne Robinson, and the simplicity of the spectators. 
She had fixed long horse hairs to some of the 
crockery, and placed wires under others, by which 
she could throw them down without touching them. 
Other things she dexterously threw about, which the 
spectators, who did not watch her motions, imputed 
to invisible agency. At times, when the family 
were absent, she loosened the hold of the strings by 
which the hams, bacon, and similar articles were 
suspended, so that they fell on the slightest motion. 
She employed some simple chymical secrets ; and, 
delighted with the success of her pranks, pushed 
them farther than she at first intended. Such was 
the solution of the whole mystery, which, known by 
the name of the Stockwell ghost, terrified many well- 
meaning persons, and had been nearly as famous as 
that of Cock-lane, which may be hinted at as another 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 319 

imposture of the same kind. So many and wonder- 
ful are the appearances described, that, when 1 first 
met with the original publication, I was strongly 
impressed with the belief that the narrative was, like 
some of Swift's advertisements, a jocular experiment 
upon the credulity of the public. But it was cer- 
tainly published bona fide, and Mr. Hone, on the 
authority of Mr. Brayfield, has since fully explained 
the wonder.* 

Many such impositions have been detected, and 
many others have been successfully concealed ; but 
to know what has been discovered in many in- 
stances, gives us the assurance of the ruling cause 
in all. I remember a scene of the kind attempted 
to be got up near Edinburgh, but detected at once 
by a sheriff's officer, a sort of persons whose habits 
of incredulity and suspicious observation render 
them very dangerous spectators on such occasions. 
The late excellent Mr. Walker, minister at Dunottar, 
in the Mearns, gave me a curious account of an im- 
posture of this kind, practised by a young country 
girl, who was surprisingly quick at throwing stones, 
turf, and other missiles, with such dexterity, that it 
was for a long time impossible to ascertain her 
agency in the disturbances of which she was the 
sole cause. 

The belief of the spectators that such scenes ot 
disturbance arise from invisible beings, will appear 
less surprising, if we consider the common feats of 
jugglers, or professors of legerdemain, and recollect 
that it is only the frequent exhibition of such powers 
which reconciles us to them as matters of course, 
although they are wonders at which, in our fathers' 
time, men would have cried out either sorcery or 
miracles. The spectator also, who has been him- 
self duped, makes no very respectable appearance 
when convicted of his error ; and thence, if too can- 

* See Hone's Evevy-Day Book, p. 62. 



320 LETTERS ON 

did to add to the evidence of supernatural agency, 
is yet unwilling to stand convicted, by cross-exami- 
nation, of having been imposed on, and uncon- 
sciously becomes disposed rather to colour more 
highly than the truth, than acquiesce in an explana- 
tion resting on his having been too hasty a believer. 
Very often, too, the detection depends upon the 
combination of certain circumstances, which, appre- 
hended, necessarily explain the whole story. 

For example, I once heard a sensible and intelli- 
gent friend in company, express himself convinced 
of the truth of a wonderful story told him by an in- 
telligent and bold man, about an apparition. The 
scene lay in an ancient castle on the coast of Mor- 
ven, or the Isle of Mull, where the ghost-seer 
chanced to be resident. He was given to under- 
stand by the family, when betaking himself to rest, 
that the chamber in which he slept was occasionally 
disquieted by supernatural appearances. Being at 
that time no believer in such stories, he attended 
little to this hint, until the witching hour of night, 
when he was awakened from a dead sleep by the 
pressure of a human hand on his body. He looked 
up at the figure of a tall Highlander'in the antique 
and picturesque dress of his country, only that his 
brows were bound with a bloody bandage. Struck 
with sudden and extreme fear, he was willing to 
have sprung from bed, but the spectre stood before 
him in the bright moonlight, its one arm extended, 
so as to master him if he attempted to rise; the 
other hand held up in a warning and grave posture, 
as menacing the Lowlander if he should attempt to 
quit his recumbent posture. Thus he lay in mortal 
agony for more than an hour, after which it pleased 
the spectre of ancient days to leave him to more 
sound repose. So singular a story had on its side 
the usual number of votes from the company, till, 
upon cross-examination, it was explained that the 
principal person concerned was an exciseman; after 



DEM0N0L0GY AND WITCHCRAFT. 321 

which eclaircissement, the same explanation struck 
all present, viz., that the Highlanders of the mansion 
had chosen to detain the exciseman by the appari- 
tion of an ancient heroic ghost, in order to disguise 
from his vigilance the removal of certain modern 
enough spirits, which his duty might have called 
upon him to seize. Here a single circumstance ex- 
plained the whole ghost story. 

At other times it happens that the meanness and 
trifling nature of a cause not very obvious to obser- 
vation, has occasioned it to be entirely overlooked, 
even on account of that very meanness, since no 
one is willing to acknowledge that he has been 
alarmed by a cause of little consequence, and which 
he would be ashamed of mentioning. An incident 
of this sort happened to a gentleman of birth and 
distinction, who is well known in the political world, 
and was detected by the precision of his observa- 
tion. Shortly after he succeeded to his estate and 
title, there was a rumour among his servants con- 
cerning a strange noise heard in the family-mansion 
at night, the cause of which they had found it im- 
possible to trace. The gentleman resolved to watch 
himself, with a domestic who had grown old in the 
family, and who had begun to murmur strange things 
concerning the knocking having followed so close 
upon the death of his old master. They watched 
until the noise was heard, which they listened to 
with that strange uncertainty attending midnight 
sounds, which prevents the hearers from imme- 
diately tracing them to the spot where they arise, 
while the silence of the night generally occasions 
the imputing to them more than the due importance 
which they would receive, if mingled with the usual 
noises of daylight. At length the gentleman and 
his servant traced the sounds which they had re- 
peatedly heard, to a small store-room, used as a 
place for keeping provisions of various kinds for the 
family, of which the old butler had the key. They 



322 LETTERS ON 

entered this place, and remained there for some time, 
without hearing the noises which they had traced 
thither ; at length the sound was heard, but, much 
lower than it had formerly seemed to be, while acted 
upon at a distance by the imagination of the hearers. 
The cause was immediately discovered. A rat 
caught in an old-fashioned trap had occasioned this 
tumult, by its efforts to escape, in which it was able 
to raise the trap-door of its prison to a certain 
height, but was then obliged to drop it. The noise 
of the fall resounding through the house, had occa- 
sioned the disturbance which, but for the cool inves- 
tigation of the proprietor, might easdy have esta- 
blished an accredited ghost story. The circum- 
stance was told me by the gentleman to whom it 
happened. 

There are other occasions in which the ghost story 
is rendered credible by some remarkable combination 
of circumstances very unlikely to have happened, and 
which no one could have supposed, unless some par- 
ticular fortune occasioned a discovery. 

An apparition which took place at Plymouth is well 
known, but it has been differently related ; and having 
some reason to think the following edition correct, it 
is an incident so much to my purpose, that you must 
pardon its insertion. 

A club of persons connected with science and lite- 
rature, was formed at the great sea-town we have 
named. During the summer months, the society 
met in a cave by the sea-shore ; during those of 
autumn and winter, they convened within the pre- 
mises of a tavern, but, for the sake of privacy, had 
their meetings in a summer-house situated in the 
garden, at a distance from the main building. Some 
of the members to whom the position of their own 
dwellings rendered this convenient, had a pass key 
to the garden-door, by which they could enter the 
garden and reach the summer-house without the 
publicity or trouble of passing through the open 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 323 

tavern. It was the rule of this club that its mem- 
bers presided alternately. On one occasion, in the 
winter, the president of the evening chanced to be 
very ill ; indeed, was reported to be on his death-bed. 
The club met as usual, and, from a sentiment of re- 
spect, left vacant the chair which ought to have been 
occupied by him, if in his usual health ; for the same 
reason, theconversation turned upon the absent gen- 
tleman's talents, and the loss expected to the society 
by his death. While they we-e upon this melan- 
choly theme, the door suddenly opened, and the ap- 
pearance of the president entered the room. He 
wore a white wrapper, a nightcap round his brow, 
the appearance of which was that of death itself. 
He stalked into the room with unusual gravity, took 
the vacant place of ceremony, lifted the empty glass 
which stood before him, bowed around, and put it to 
his lips ; then replaced it on the table, and stalked 
out of the room as silent as he had entered it. The 
company remained deeply appalled ; at length, after 
many observations on the strangeness of what they 
had seen, they resolved to despatch two of their 
number as ambassadors, to see how it fared with the 
president, who had thus strangely appeared among 
them. They went, and returned with the frightful 
intelligence, that the friend, after whom they had 
inquired, was that evening deceased. 

The astonished party then resolved that they 
would remain absolutely silent respecting the won- 
derful sight which they had seen. Their habits were 
too philosophical to permit them to believe that they 
had actually seen the ghost of their deceased bro- 
ther, and at the same time they were too wise men, 
to wish to confirm the superstition of the vulgar, by 
what might seem indubitable evidence of a ghost. 
The affair was therefore kept a strict secret, although, 
as usual, some dubious rumours of the tale found 
their way to the public. Several years afterward, 
an old woman who had long filled the place of a sick- 



324 LETTERS ON 

nurse, was taken very ill, and on her death-bed was 
attended by a medical member of the philosophical 
club. To him, with many expressions of regret, she 
acknowledged that she had long before attended Mr. 

, naming the president, whose appearance had 

surprised the club so strangely, and that she felt dis- 
tress of conscience on account of the maimer in 
which he died. She said, that as his malady was at- 
tended by light-headedness, she had been directed to 
keep a close watch upon him during his illness. 
Unhappily she slept, and during her sleep the patient 
had awaked, and left the apartment. When on her 
own waking, she found the bed empty and the patient 
gone, she forthwith hurried out of the house to seek 
him, and met him in the act of returning. She got 
him, she said, replaced in the bed, but it was only to 
die there. She added, to convince her hearer of the 
truth of what she said, that immediately after the 
poor gentleman expired, a deputation of two mem- 
bers from the club came to inquire after their presi- 
dent's health, and received for answer that he was 
already dead. This confession explained the whole 
matter. The delirious patient had very naturally 
taken the road to the club, from some recollections 
of his duty of the night. In approaching and retiring 
from the apartment, he had used one of the pass-keys 
already mentioned, which made his way shorter. On 
the other hand, the gentlemen sent to inquire after his 
health had reached his lodging by a more circuitous 
road •, and thus there had been time for him to return 
to what proved his death-bed, long before they 
reached his chamber. The philosophical witnesses 
of this strange scene were now as anxious to spread 
the story as they had formerly been to conceal it, 
since it showed in what a remarkable maimer men's 
eyes might turn traitors to them, and impress them 
with ideas far different from the truth. 

Another occurrence of the same kind, although 
scarcely so striking in its circumstances, was yet 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 325 

one which, had it remained unexplained, might have 
passed as an indubitable instance of a supernatural 
apparition. , . 

A Teviotdale farmer was riding from a fair, at 
which he had indulged himself with John Barley- 
corn, but not to that extent of defying goblins which 
it inspired into the gallant Tam O'Shanter. He was 
pondering with some anxiety upon the dangers of 
travelling alone on a solitary road, which passed the 
corner of a churchyard, now near at hand, when he 
saw before him, in the moonlight, a pale female 
form standing upon the very wall which surrounded 
the cemetery. The road was very narrow, with no 
opportunity of giving the apparent phantom what 
seamen call a wide birth. It was, however, the only 
path which led to the rider's home, who therefore 
resolved, at all risks, to pass the apparition. He 
accordingly approached, as slowly as possible, the 
spot where the soectre stood, while the figure re- 
mained, now perfectly still and silent, now bran- 
dishing its arms, and gibbering to the moon. When 
the farmer came close to the spot, he dashed m the 
spurs, and set the horse off upon a gallop ; but the 
spectre did not miss its opportunity. As he passed 
the corner where she was perched, she contrived to 
drop behind the horseman, and seize him round the 
waist ; a manoeuvre which greatly increased the 
speed of the horse, and the terror of the rider ; for 
the hand of her who sat behind him, when pressed 
upon his, felt as cold as that of a corpse. At his 
own house at length he arrived, and bid the servants 
who came to attend him, " Tak aff the ghaist ! 
They took off accordingly a female in white, and 
the poor farmer himself was conveyed to bed, where 
he lay struggling for weeks with a strong nervous 
fever. The female was found to be a maniac, who 
had been left a widow very suddenly by an affec- 
tionate husband, and the nature and cause of her 
maladv induced her, when she could make her es« 
J Ee 



326 LETTERS ON 

cape, to wander to the churchyard, where she some- 
times wildly wept over his grave, and sometimes 
standing on the corner of the churchyard wall, 
looked out, and mistook every stranger on horse- 
back for the husband she had lost. If this woman, 
which was very possible, had dropped from the horse 
unobserved by him whom she had made her invo- 
luntary companion, it would have been very hard to 
have convinced the honest farmer that he had not ac- 
tually performed part of his journey with a ghost 
behind him. 

There is also a large class of stories of this sort, 
where various secrets of chymistry, of acoustics, 
ventriloquism, or other arts, have been either em- 
ployed to dupe the spectators, or have tended to do 
so through mere accident and coincidence. Of these 
it is scarce necessary to quote instances ; but the fol- 
lowing may be told as a tale recounted by a foreign 
nobleman, known to me nearly thirty years ago, 
whose life, lost in the service of his sovereign, 
proved too short for his friends and his native land. 

At a certain old castle on the confines of Hun- 
gary, the lord to whom it belonged had determined 
upon giving an entertainment worthy of his own 
rank, and of the magnificence of the antique man- 
sion which he inhabited. The guests of course 
were numerous, and among them was a veteran of- 
ficer of hussars, remarkable for his bravery. When 
the arrangements for the night were made, this of- 
ficer was informed that there would be difficulty in 
accommodating the company in the castle, large as 
it was, unless some one would take the risk of 
sleeping in a room supposed to be haunted ; and that 
as he was known to be above such prejudices, the 
apartment was, in the first place, proposed for his 
occupation, as the person least likely to smTer a bad 
night's rest from such a cause. The Major thank- 
fully accepted the preference, and having shared the 
festivity of the evening, retired after midnight, 



DEMOXOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 327 

having denounced vengeance against any one who 
should presume by any trick to disturb his repose ; 
a threat which his habits would, it was sup- 
posed, render him sufficiently ready to execute. 
Somewhat contrary to the custom in these cases, the 
Major went to bed, having left his candle burning, 
and laid his trusty pistols carefully loaded on the 
table by his bedside. 

He had not slept an hour when he was awakened 
by a solemn strain of music — he looked out. Three 
ladies, fantastically dressed in green, were seen 
in the lower end of the apartment, who sung a so- 
lemn requiem. The Major listened for some time 
with delight; at length he tired — "Ladies," he said, 
" this is very well, but somewhat monotonous — will 
you be so kind as to change the tune ?" The ladies 
continued singing; he expostulated, but the music 
was not interrupted. The Major began to grow an- 
gry : "Ladies," he said, " I must consider this as a 
trick for the purpose of terrifying me, and as I re- 
gard it as an impertinence, I shall take a rough mode 
of stopping it." With that he began to handle his 
pistols. The ladies sung on. He then got seriously 
angry — " I will but wait five minutes," he said, 
' and then fire without hesitation." The song was 
uninterrupted — the five minutes were expired — " I 
still give you law, ladies," he said, " while I count 
twenty." This produced as little effect as his for- 
mer threats. He counted one, two, three, accord- 
ingly; but on approaching the end of the number, 
and repeating more than once his determination to 
fire, the last numbers seventeen — eighteen — nine- 
teen, were pronounced with considerable pauses be- 
tween, and an assurance that the pistols were cocked. 
The ladies sung on. As he pronounced the word 
twenty he fired both pistols against the musical dam- 
sels; — but the ladies sung on ! The Major whs over- 
come by the unexpected inefficacy of his violence, 
and had an illness which lasted more than three 



328 LETTERS OX 

weeks. The trick put upon him may be shortly 
described by the fact, that the female choristers were 
placed in an adjoining room, and that he only fired at 
their reflection thrown forward into that in which he 
slept by the effect of a concave mirror. 

Other stories of the same kind are numerous and 
well known. The apparition of the Brocken mountain 
after having occasioned great admiration and some 
fear, is now ascertained by philosophers to be a gi- 
gantic reflection, which makes the traveller's shadow, 
represented upon the misty clouds, appear a colossal 
figure of almost immeasurable size. By a similar 
deception, men have been induced, in Westmoreland 
and other mountainous countries, to imagine they 
saw troops of horse and armies inarching and coun- 
termarching, which were in fact only the reflection 
of horses pasturing upon an opposite height, or of 
the forms of peaceful travellers. 

A very curious case of this kind was communi- 
cated to me by the son of the lady principally con- 
cerned, and tends to show out of what mean mate- 
rials a venerable apparition may be sometimes 
formed. In youth, this lady resided with her father, 
a man of sense and resolution. Their house was 
situated in the principal street of a town of some size. 
The back part of the house ran at right angles to an 
Anabaptist chapel, divided from it by a small cab- 
bage-garden. The young lady used sometimes to 
indulge the romantic love of solitude, by sitting in 
her own apartment in the evening till twilight, and 
even darkness was approaching. One evening while 
she was thus placed, she was surprised to see a gleamy 
figure, as of some aerial being hovering, as it were, 
against the arched window in the end of the Anabap- 
tist chapel. Its head was surrounded by that halo 
which painters give to the Catholic saints; and, 
while the young lady's attention was fixed on an ob- 
ject so extraordinary, the figure bent gracefully to- 
wards her more than once, as if intimating a sense 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 



329 



of her presence, and then disappeared The seer of 
this striking vision descended to her family, so much 
discomposed as to call her father's attention. He 
obtained an account of the cause of her disturbance, 
and expressed his intention to watch in the apart- 
ment next night. He sat, accordingly, m his daugh- 
ter's chamber, where she also attended him. iwi- 
lio-ht came, and nothing appeared; but as the gray 
l&ht faded into darkness, the same female figure 
was seen hovering on the window ; the same shadowy 
form ; the same pale light aronnd the head ; the same 
inclinations, as the evening before. "What do you 
think of this?" said the daughter to the astonished 
father.—" Anv thing, my dear," said the father, " ra- 
ther than allow that we look upon what is superna- 
tural."— A strict research established a natural cause 
for the appearance on the window. It was the cus- 
tom of an old woman, to whom the garden beneath 
was rented, to go out at night to gather cabbages. 
The lantern she carried in her hand threw up the re- 
fracted reflection of her form on the chapel window. 
As she stooped to gather her cabbages, the reflection 
appeared to bend forward; and that was the whole 

matter. „ ,. ,, ,.. 

Another species of deception affecting the credit 
of such supernatural communications, arises from 
the dexterity and skill of the authors who have made 
it their business to present such stories in the shape 
most likely to attract belief. Defoe— whose power 
in rendering credible that which was in itself very 
much the reverse was so peculiarly distinguished— 
has not failed to show his superiority in this species 
of composition. A bookseller of his acquaintance 
had, in the trade phrase, rather overprinted an edition 
of Drelincourt on Death, and complained to Defoe 
of the loss which was likely to ensue. The expe- 
rienced bookmaker, with the purpose of recommend- 
ing the edition, advised his friend to prefix the cele- 
brated narrative of Mrs. Veal's ghost, which he wrote 
E©9 



330 LETTERS ON 

for the occasion, with such an air of truth, that 
although, in fact, it does not afford a single tittle of 
evidence properly so called, it nevertheless was 
swallowed so eagerly by the people, that Drelin- 
court's work on Death, which the supposed spirit re- 
commended to the perusal of her friend Mrs. Bar- 
grave, instead of sleeping on the editor's shelf, 
moved off by thousands at once ; the story, incredible 
in itself, and unsupported as it was by evidence or 
inquiry, was received as true, merely from the cun- 
ning of the narrator, and the addition of a number 
of adventitious circumstances, which no man alive 
could have conceived as having occurred to the mind 
of a person composing a fiction. 

It did not require the talents of Defoe, though in 
that species of composition he must stand unrivalled, 
to fix the public attention on a ghost story. John 
Dunton, a man of scribbling celebrity at the time, 
succeeded to a great degree in imposing upon the 
public a tale which he calls the Apparition Evidence. 
The beginning of it at least, for it is of great length, 
has something in it a little new. At Mynehead, in 
Somersetshire, lived an ancient gentlewoman, named 
Mrs. Leckie, whose only son and daughter resided 
in family with her. The son traded to Ireland, and 
was supposed to be worth eight or ten thousand 
pounds. They had a child about five or six years 
old. This family was generally respected in Myne- 
head; and especially Mrs. Leckie, the old lady, was 
so pleasant in society, that her friends used to say 
to her, and to each other, that it was a thousand 
pities such an excellent, good-humoured gentle 
woman must, from her age, be soon lost to her 
friends. To which Mrs. Leckie often made the 
somewhat startling reply : " For as much as you now 
seem to like me, I am afraid you will but little care 
to see or speak with me after my death, though I be- 
lieve you may have that satisfaction." Die, how- 
ever, she did, and after her funeral, was repeatedly 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 331 

seen in her personal likeness, at home and abroad, 
by night and by noon-day. 

One story is told, of a doctor of physic walking 
into the fields, who in his return met with this spec- 
tre, whom he at first accosted civilly, and paid her 
the courtesy of handing her over a style ; observing, 
however, that she did not move her lips in speaking, 
or her eyes in looking round, he became suspicious 
of the condition of his companion, and showed some 
desire to be rid of her society. Offended at this, the 
hag at next style planted herself upon it, and ob- 
structed his passage. He got through at length 
with some difficulty, and not without a sound kick, 
and an admonition to pay more attention to the next 
aged gentlewoman whom he met. " But this," says 
John Dunton, " was a petty and inconsiderable prank 
to what she played in her son's house, and elsewhere. 
She would at noon-day appear upon the key of Myne- 
head, and cry, ' A boat, a boat, ho ! a boat, a boat, 
ho !' If any boatmen or seamen were in sight and 
did not come, they were sure to be cast away ; and 
if they did come, 'twas all one, they were cast away. 
It was equally dangerous to please and displease 
her. Her son had several ships sailing between Ire- 
land and England; no sooner did they make land, 
and come in sight of England, but this ghost would 
appear in the same garb and likeness as when she 
was alive, and, standing at the mainmast, would blow 
with a whistle, and though it were never so great a 
calm, yet immediately there would arise a most 
dreadful storm, that would break, wreck, and drown 
the ship and goods, only the seamen would escape 
with their lives— the Devil had no permission from 
God to take them away. Yet at this rate, by her 
frequent apparitions and disturbances, she had made 
a poor merchant of her son, for his fair estate was all 
buried in the sea, and he that was once worth thou- 
sands was reduced to a very poor and low condition 
• in the world ; for whether the ship was his own or 



332 LETTERS ON 

hired, or he had but goods on board it to the value of 
twenty shillings, this troublesome ghost would come 
as before, whistle in a calm at the mainmast at noon- 
day, when they had descried land, and then ship and 
goods went all out of hand to wreck; insomuch tbat 
he could at last get no ships wherein to stow his 
goods, nor any mariner to sail in them ; for, knowing 
what an uncomfortable, fatal, and losing voyage 
they should make of it, they did all decline his ser- 
vice. In her son's house she hath her constant 
haunts by day and night ; but whether he did not, or 
would not own, if he did see her, he always professed 
he never saw her. Sometimes when in bed with his 
wife, she would cry out, 'Husband, look, there's 
your mother !' And when he would turn to the right 
side, then was she gone to the left ; and when to the 
left side of the bed, then was she gone to the right : 
only one evening their only child, a girl of about five 
or six years old, lying in a truckle-bed under them, 
cries out, " O help me, father ! help me, mother, for 
grandmother will choke me !' and before they could 
get to their child's assistance, she had murdered it ; 
they finding the poor girl dead, her throat having 
been pinched by two fingers, which stopped her 
breath and strangled her. This was the sorest of 
all their afflictions; their estate is gone, and now 
their child is gone also ; you may guess at their grief 
and great sorrow. One morning after the child's 
funeral, her husband being abroad, about eleven in 
the forenoon, Mrs. Leckie the younger goes up into 
her chamber to dress her head, and, as she was look- 
ing into the glass, she spies her mother-in-law, the 
old beldam, looking- over her shoulder. This cast 
her into a great horror ; but recollecting her affrighted 
spirits, and recovering the exercise of her reason, 
faith, and hope, having cast up a short and silent 
prayer to God, she turns about, and bespeaks her : 
In the name of God, mother, why do you trouble 
me ?'— ' Peace '.' says the spectrum ; ' I will do thee 



DEM0N0L0GY AND WITCHCRAFT. 333 

no hurt.'— 'What will you have of me?' says the 
daughter," &c* Dunton, the narrator, and probably 
the contriver of the story, proceeds to inform us, at 
length, of a commission which the wife of Mr. Leckie 
receives from the ghost to deliver to Atherton, Bishop 
of Waterford, a guilty and unfortunate man, who 
afterward died by the hands of the executioner; 
but that part of the subject is too disagreeable and 
tedious to enter upon. 

So deep was the impression made by the story on 
the inhabitants of Mynehead, that it is said the tra- 
dition of Mrs. Leckie still remains in that port, and 
that mariners belonging to it often, amid tempestuous 
weather, conceive they hear the whistle-call of the 
implacable hag Avho was the source of so much mis- 
chief to her own family. However, already too de- 
sultory, and too long, it would become intolerably 
tedious were we to insist farther on the peculiar sort 
of genius by which stories of this kind may be im- 
bodied and prolonged. 

I may, however, add, that the charm of the tale 
depends much upon the age of the person to whom 
it is addressed ; and that the vivacity of fancy which 
engages us in youth to pass over much that is absurd, 
in order to enjoy some single trait of imagination, 
dies within us when we obtain the age of manhood, 
and the sadder and graver regions which lie beyond 
it. I am the more conscious of this, because I have 
been myself, at two periods of my life, distant from 
each other, engaged in scenes favourable to that de- 
gree of superstitious awe which my countrymen ex- 
pressively call being eerie. 

On the first of these occasions, I was only nineteen 
or twenty years old, when I happened to pass a night 
in the magnificent old baronial castle of Glammis, 
the hereditary seat of the Earls of Strathmore. The 
hoary pile contains much in its appearance, and in 

* Apparition Evidence. 



334 LETTERS ON 

the traditions connected with it, impressive to the 
imagination. It was the scene of the murder of a 
Scottish king of great antiquity; not, indeed, the 
gracious Duncan, with whom the name naturally 
associates itself, but Malcolm the Second. It 
contains also a curious monument of the peril of 
feudal times, being a secret chamber, the entrance 
of which, by the laAV or custom of the family, must 
only be known to three persons at once, viz. the Earl 
of Strathmore, his heir apparent, and any third per- 
son whom they may take into their confidence. The 
extreme antiquity of the building is vouched by the 
immense thickness of the walls, and the wild and 
straggling arrangement of the accommodation within 
doors. As the late Earl of Strathmore seldom re- 
sided in that ancient mansion, it was, when I was 
there, but half furnished, and that with moveables 
of great antiquity, which, with the pieces of chivalric 
armour hanging upon the Avails, greatly contributed 
to the general effect of the whole. After a very hos- 
pitable reception from the late Peter Proctor, Esq., 
then seneschal of the castle, in Lord Strathmore's 
absence, I was conducted to my apartment in a dis- 
tant corner of the building. I must own, that as I 
heard door after door shut, after my conductor had 
retired, I began to consider myself too far from the 
living, and somewhat too near the dead. We had 
passed through what is called " the King's room," a 
vaulted apartment, garnished with stags' antlers, and 
similar trophies of the chase, and said by tradition to 
be the spot of Malcolm's murder, and I had an idea 
of the vicinity of the castle chapel. 

In spite of the truth of history, the whole night 
scene in Macbeth's castle rushed at once upon my 
mind, and struck my imagination more forcibly than 
even when I have seen its terrors represented by the 
late John Kemble and his inimitable sister. In a 
Avord, I experienced sensations, Avhich, though not 
remarkable either for timidity or superstition, did not 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 335 

fail to effect me to the point of being disagreeable, 
while they were mingled at the same time with a 
strange and indescribable kind of pleasure, the re- 
collection of which affords me gratification at this 
moment. ., 

In the year 1814, accident placed me, then past mid- 
dle life, in a situation somewhat similar to that which 
I have described. . 

I had been on a pleasure voyage with some inenas 
around the north coast of Scotland, and in that course 
had arrived in the salt-water lake under the Castle 
of Dunvegan, whose turrets, situated upon a frowning 
rock, rise immediately above the waves of the loch. 
As most of the party, and I myself in particular, 
chanced to be well known to the Laird of Macleod, 
we were welcomed to the castle with Highland hos- 
pitality, and glad to find ourselves in polished society, 
after a cruise of some duration. The most modern 
part of the castle was founded in the days of James 
VI. ; the more ancient is referred to a period " whose 
birth tradition notes not." Until the present Mac- 
leod connected by a drawbridge the site of the castle 
with the mainland of Skye, the access must have 
been extremely difficult. Indeed, so much greater 
was the regard paid to security than to convenience, 
that in former times the only access to the mansion 
arose through a vaulted cavern in a rock, up which 
a staircase ascended from the sea shore, like the 
buildings we read of in the romances of Mrs. Radcliffe. 
Such a castle in the extremity of the Highlands 
was of course furnished with many a tale of tradi- 
tion, and many a superstitious legend to fill occa- 
sional intervals in the music and song, as proper to 
the halls of Dunvegan as when Johnson comme- 
morated them. We reviewed the arms and ancient 
valuables of this distinguished family— saw the dirk 
and broadsword of Rorie Mhor, and his horn, which 
would drench three chiefs of these degenerate days. 
The solemn drinking cup of the Kings of Man must 



336 LETTERS ON 

not be forgotten, nor the fairy banner given to 
Macleod by the Queen of Fairies ; that magic flag, 
which has been victorious in two pitched fields, and 
will still float in a third, the bloodiest and the last, 
when the Elfin Sovereign shall, after the fight is 
ended, recall her bannei, and carry off the standard- 
bearer. 

Amid such tales of ancient tradition, I had from 
Macleod and his lady the courteous offer of the 
haunted apartment of the castle, about which, as a 
stranger, I might be supposed interested. Ac- 
cordingly, I took possession of it about the witching 
hour. Except, perhaps, some tapestry hangings, and 
the extreme thickness of the walls, which argued 
great antiquity, nothing could have been more com- 
fortable than the interior of the apartment ; but if 
you looked from the windows, the view was such as 
to correspond with the highest tone of superstition. 
An autumnal blast, sometimes clear, sometimes 
driving mist before it, swept along the troubled bil- 
lows of the lake, which it occasionally concealed, 
and by fits disclosed. The waves rushed in wild 
disorder on the shore, and covered with foam the 
steep piles of rock, which rising from the sea in 
forms something resembling the human figure, have 
obtained the name of Macleod's Maidens, and in 
such a night, seemed no bad representatives of the 
Norwegian goddesses, called Choosers of the Slain, 
or Riders of the Storm. There was something of 
the dignity of danger in the scene ; for on a platform 
beneath the windows lay an ancient battery of 
cannon, which had sometimes been used against 
privateers even of late years. The distant scene 
was a view of that part of the Quillan mountains 
which are called, from their form, Macleod's Dining- 
Tables. The voice of an angry cascade, termed the 
Nurse of Rorie Mhor, because that chief slept best in 
its vicinity, was heard from time to time mingling its 
notes with those of wind and wave. Such was the 



DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 337 

haunted room at Dunvegan, and as such, it well de- 
served a less sleepy inhabitant. In the language of 
Dr. Johnson, who has stamped his memory i>l this 
remote place, " I looked around me, and wondered 
that I was not more affected ; but the mind is not at 
^11 times equally ready to be moved." In a word, it 
is necessary to confess, that, of all I heard or saw, 
the most engaging spectacle was the comfortable 
bed, in which I hoped to make amends for some 
rough nights on ship-board, and where I slept ac- 
cordingly, without thinking of ghost or goblin, till I 
was called by my servant in the morning. 

From this I am taught to infer, that tales of ghosts 
and demonology are out of date at forty years and 
upwards ; that it is only in the morning of life that 
this feeling of superstition "comes o'er us like a 
summer cloud," affecting us with fear, which is 
solemn and awful rather than painful; and I am 
tempted to think, that if I were to write on the sub- 
ject at all, it should have been during a period of life 
when I could have treated it with more interesting 
vivacity, and might have been at least amusing, if I 
could not be instructive. Even the present fashion 
of the world seems to be ill suited for studies of this 
fantastic nature ; and the most ordinary mechanic has 
learning sufficient to laugh at the figments which in 
former times were believed by persons far advanced 
in the deepest knowledge of the age. 

I cannot, however, in conscience, carry my opinion 
of my countrymen's good sense so far as to excul- 
pate them entirely from the charge of credulity. 
Those who are disposed to look for them may, with- 
out much trouble, see such manifest signs, both of 
superstition and the disposition to believe in its doc- 
trines, as may render it no useless occupation to 
compare the follies of our fathers with our own. 
The sailors have a proverb that every man in his 
lifetime must eat a peck of impurity ; and it seems 
yet more clear tkt j/ciy generation of the human 



338 LETTERS &.C. 

race must swallow a certain measure of nonsense. 
There remains hope, however, that the grosser faults 
of our ancestors are now out of date ; and that what- 
ever follies the present race may be guilty of, the 
sense of humanity is too universally spread to per- 
mit them to think of tormenting wretches till they 
confess what is impossible, and then burning them 
for their pains. 



THE END 



THREE 



INQUIRIES. 



1. Into the Scriptural Doctrine concerning tlie 

DEVIL AND SATAN. 



2. The Extent of Duration, expressed "by trie terms 

OLIM, AION, AND AIONIOS, 
i 

RENDERED EVERLASTING, &C. &c. IN THE BIBLE, 

r 
asd especially when applied to punishment. 





3. jFte Ne^Ep^Ljant Dq 

POSSES 



•g-tlae 



EVILS. 



By WALTER BALFOUR, 

OF CHARLESTOWN, MASS. 



THIRD EDITION, 



£:T <k l>rk PROVIDENCE: 

PUBLISHED BY Z. BAKER, 

GOSPEL MESSENGER OFFICE. 

1842. 
d 



Entered According to Act of Congress, in the year 1842, by 

WALTER BALFOUR, 
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts. 




Providence : Benjamin P. Moore, Book, Job, Card and Fancy Printer. 






CONTENTS. 

PART I. 

Introduction - P a g e v - 

Section i. Common opinions of the Devil and Satan briefly 

stated .... 13 

Sect. ii. Remarks on Genesis iii. showing that the serpent 

which deceived Eve was not a fallen angel 19 

Sect. hi. All the texts in the Old Testement where the 
original word Shaitan,or Satan occurs, consid- 
ered ----- 35 

Sect. iv. The opinion that the Devil or Satan is a real 
being, with other connected opinions, shown 
to have their origin in heathenism - 64 

Sect. v. All the passages in the New Testamen where the 

term Satan occurs, considered - - 97 

Sect. vi. All the passages where the original word Diabolos, 

translated Devil is used, considered - 115 

Sect. vii. All the passages considered in which the terms 

Devil and Satan are used synonymously - 146 

Sect. viii. All the texts considered where the Devil is sup- 
posed to be called the evil one, the tempter, the 
great 'dragon, the serpent, and old serpent, the 
princs of this world, the prince of the power of 
the air, and the god of this world - 161 

Sect. ix. Facts stated, showing that the Devil is not a fallen 

angel, or a real being ... 172 

Sect. x. Objections considered ... 182 

Sect. xi. Concluding remarks, pointing out the evils which 
have arisen from the common opinions enter- 
tained of the Devil and Satan -> « 19Q 



IV CONTENTS. 

PART II. 

Sect. i. All the texts noticed where Olim occurs ill the 
Old Testament, but is rendered by words which 
dflfnot express or imply endless duration 197 

Sect, ii. All the pa3sages noticed where Olim is used, and 
rendered by words which convey the idea of 
endless duration - - - 203 

Sect. hi. All the texts where Olim occurs, is rendered by 
words which convey the idea of endless dura- 
tion, and applied to punishment, particularly 
considered -.-»... 233 

Sect. iv. General remarks on Aion and Aionios, as used in 

the New Testament - - - 243 

Sect. v. All the places noticed where Aion and Aionios 
are rendered ages, course, never, forever, ever- 
more, eternal, everlasting; but which have no 
relation to punishment - - 253 

Sect. vi. All the places where Aion and Aionios are ren- 
dered world, considered - - 265 

Sect, vii. All the places where Aion and Aionios are Used 
to express the duration of punishment, particu- 
larly considered,' in whatever way rendered in 
the comrr.on version ... 308 

Sect- tiii. Concluding remarks on Olim, Aion and Aionios, 
throughout the Bible, whether applied to God, 
to life, or punishment ... 343 

PART III. 

An Inquiry into the possession of devils mentioned in the 
New Testament ' - 357 



/ 




INTRODUCTION 



In presenting the following pages to the public, were any 
apology necessary, I would make it in the words of Professor 
Stuart to Dr. Miller. He says, p. 12, 13. of his Letters, "It is 
just as much our individual duty now, to bring every principle 
of the creed of the Protestant churches to the test of the divine 
word, as it was the duty of the Reformers to bring that of the 
Catholics to the test of Scripture. This position is absolutely 
certain ; unless we can prove that the formers of the Protestant 
symbols were inspired. If they were not, they may have erred 
in some things ; and if so, it is important to us, if possible, to 
know in what they have erred. But how shall we, or how can 
we know this, unless their creeds are subjected, anew and re- 
peatedly, to the test of the Scriptures, &c. 

" So long as we profess to be Protestants, and of course, pro- 
fess to believe that the Bible is the sufficient and only rule of 
faith and practice, so long, if we act consistently, we believe in 
the symbols of faith which we receive, only because we find 
them supported by the Scriptures. It is not only lawful then to 
put them to the test ; but it is an imperious duty for every man 
tor do it, who is able to do it. There may be a show of modesty 
and humility in receiving what others have believed, without 
examination and without scrutiny ; but in every case, where 
there is ability to investigate and bring to the Scripture test, a 
failure to do it must arise from undue regard to the authority of 
fallible men, or from mere inaction — from absolute sloth.'* fee- 
According to my ability I have endeavored to bring to the 
Scripture test three very important articles in the Protestant 
creeds. Other articles, particularly those noticed in Part 1. 
Section iv. intruded themselves in the course of my researches, 
and it was deemed proper to give them a due share of attention, 
being very closely connected with my subject. 

It may be thought by some, that if the things stated in Part i. 
Sect. 4. be true, the Second Part is a superfluous discussion ; for 
it follows, of course, that endless punishment cannot be true. 
This we admit ; but the texts where everlasting is applied to 
punishment, will not be given up by many as teaching endless 
punishment, until some rational Scriptural interpretation is pre- 
sented, showing that their former views of them are incorrect. 



VI INTRODUCTION. 

I here can speak from experience ; for I nefrer would hkve 
relinquished the doctrine of endless punishment, .unless I »d 
come to see how such texts ^ouldifoe fainy elWained as jjpt 
teaching it. I have:- felt the power of' such previous views on 
uiv ownjuind, and make allowance for others in the same con- 
dition".- Oo this 'account, if my explanations of the texts where 
^ever^JEng is appwed to punishment be correct, the Second Part, 
so far from being superfluous, is highly necessary. Many of my 
former friends have wondered, how I could embrace my present 
views with such texts staring me in the face. One object with 
me, in the Second Part has been, to show, that I did not shut 
my eyes to these texts, but obtaining very different views of 
them, embraced my present opinions. Whether my present 
views be correct, they can now see and judge for themselves. 
If I have embraced error, they are requested to have the good- 
ness to correct it. 

In the following pages, we have expressed our opinions frankly 
and sincerely, and appealed to the Scriptures as the test of truth. 
The author hopes, that the spirit in which his remarks are made 
can give offence to none. He has studied to avoid all harsh 
language, convinced that man's wrath can never work the righte- 
ousness of God. If he has in any instance turned aside from this 
path, he shall regret it much more than any of his readers, for his 
object is to convince, not to irritate. Should it be said, some of 
the opinions controverted are not held now by our orthodox 
brethren, nor durst any preacher avow them, without forfeiting 
his station. We are glad to hear of this, but doubt if it is gene- 
rally true ; and certainly, we have never heard, that any public 
disavowal of them has been made. If such opinions are not held 
now, why not publicly denounce them ? For it will not be de- 
nied, that they have been held by Calvinists in past ages. At 
any rate, we would say, it has been far from our heart to misre- 
present the opinions of our brethren. 

Should any one reply to the following pages, the author begs 
leave to say, that it will be of no consequence to point out defects 
in his manner of discussing the subject, or, to show that he has 
misunderstood some texts which have come under his considera- 
tion. As to the first, had his time and avocations permitted, he 
might have rendered the work freer of defects. As to the last, 
though he has used all means in his power to interpret the Scrip- 
tures correctly, yet it would be surprising, if in no instance he 
had misunderstood the sacred writers- A reply merely bearing 
on these points, he will pass over in silence. But, he will listen 
with attention to whatever maybe advanced. He will attend to 
argument and evidence drawn from Scripture, come from what 
quarter they may, whether stated in a good or bad temper of mind. 
If convinced he is wrong, he will be silent, but if not, he will 
claim the privilege of stating his reasons for his dissent. Who-. 



INTRODUCTION. Vll 

ever undertakes to reply, we beg of them to give us proofs and 
not mere assertions, for what they may advance, and to pay par- 
ticular attention also to what we have advanced in Parti. Sect. 4. 
To point out defects, without fairly meeting the grand points at 
issue will be considered no answer. 

I make no apology for availing myself of quotations from vari- 
ous authors in the course of my remarks, for they are chiefly 
taken from writers whose religious creeds embraced the opinions 
controverted. None of them are taken from professed Universa- 
lists, for by most people their testimony would be deemed excep- 
tionable, however well supported by evidence. The testimonies 
quoted in favor of my opinions, are from men competent to judge, 
and in high repute as critics and commentators among orthodox 
people. They are quoted, not to give sanction to my views by 
the weight and number of their names, but on account of the 
evidence which they produce. 

In the present work, the strongest texts in favor of endless 
punishment are considered, and attention given them in propor- 
tion to the degree of stress laid on them in favor of this doctrine. 
In some instances, we have referred to our former Inquiry into 
the words Sheol, Hades, Tartarus, and Gehenna, for an illustra- 
tion, which the reader will please consult. And in all cases, we 
hope the texts referred to, will be turned to and read, as they 
confirm or illustrate the sentiments advocated. 

The author is deeply sensible, that the sentiments advanced 
are very unpopular, and will be condemned by man}' without a 
hearing. He is sorry for such persons on their own account; for 
this cannot stop the advance of light and knowledge in the present 
day, anymore than sleeping all day can stop the sun in his course. 
If what I have advanced be true, it must prevail against all 
opposition, for great is the truth, and must prevail. If my 
sentiments are false, the sooner they are refuted, neglected, and 
forgotten, the better. If this can be done, it no doubt will be 
done, and to the doing of it we shall add our hearty amen. 



•V 



NOTICE TO THE THIRD EDITION. 

In this third edition, a third partis added — "On the posses- 
sions of devils mentioned in the New Testament." Those who 
complained of the want of this, in the two former editions, will 
here find it supplied. This addition has considerably increased 
the size of the book, being unwilling to abridge the other parts 
to make room for it. We have seen no reason to change our 
opinions, or to alter them, and of course they remain in this as in 
former editions. All the difference is, we have somewhat abridg- 
ed the introduction, left out a few sentences and words of no 
importance to the argument, and made a few verbal alterations 
in the phraseology. But these are of so little importance, that 
we deem them hardly deserving this brief notice. We hope the 
work is improved, and is rendered more perfect by the addition 
made to it. In this addition, the subject is discussed very briefly 
from what it might have been, for we deemed it most profitable 
to confine our attention to the argument from Scripture. By this 
test we wish our sentiments to stand or fall. If they are unscrip- 
tural, no person hitherto has attempted to refute them from the 
Bible. The attempt ought to be made soon, to benefit me, for I 
shall ere long go the way of all the earth, and be beyond either 
men's praise or their blame. What thou doestthen "do quickly" 
for " there is no work, nor device, nor wisdom in the grave." 



AN INQUIRY 



INTO THE SCRIPTURAL DOCTRINE CONCERNING 
THE DEVIL AND SATAN. 



SECTION I. 

COMMON OPINIONS ENTERTAINED OF THE DEVIL AND 
SATAN BRIEFLY STATED. 

The opinions entertained, concerning a being called 
the Devil and Satan, are many. We shall give a brief 
summary of them under the following particulars : 

1st. The Unity of the Devil. It is the common 
opinion, that there is but one being properly called Me 
devil. The unity of God is not more certainly be- 
lieved, than that the Devil or Satan is one. Though 
God is said by many to be three persons in one being, 
yet the devil has never been supposed to be more than 
one person in one being. Dr. Campbell, Dissert. 6. 
says, "nor can any thing be clearer from Scripture 
than that, though the demons are innumerable, there is 
but one devil in the universe." 

2d. The Origin of the Devil The common opin- 
ions about this are;— that he was originally, one of the 
anggfe of God in heaven. God did not create him a 



14 AN INQUIRY PART 1. 

devil, but be became so, by his own sin and rebellion. 
It is also believed, that he drew a multitude of the 
heavenly hosts into rebellion with him, who have 
shared his fate, are called his angels, and that he has 
become their chief. His sin is supposed to have been 
pride ; but how, or about what it arose, we have never 
seen properly defined. The time is not ascertained 
when all this took place ; but it must have been before 
Adam and Eve sinned, as he is said to have been their 
seducer. Supposing all this to be true, we can an- 
swer the long agitated question — "whence cometh 
evil?" It came from heaven. It originated among 
the holy angels of God. But how it could originate in 
heaven, and among such holy beings, I must leave 
for others to explain. Admitting such opinions true, 
I ask, if sin once originated there and among such 
beings, why may it not again, yea, often ; and why 
not extend it to all the ransomed of the Lord ? Why 
may they not all finally become devils by sin and rebel- 
lion against the Lord ? What is the security given 
that nothing of a like nature shall ever take place again 
in heaven ? 

3d. His expulsion from heaven and his place of 
abode since. How long the devil maintained his place 
in heaven after he sinned, we have never seen stated. 
All agree, that he was cast out of heaven, but where 
he was cast to, and where his abode has been since, 
very various opinions are entertained. Some say he 
was cast down to hell, and has been there in chains of 
darkness ever since. Others allege, that his abode is 
in the air, or our atmosphere. The most general opin- 
ion is, that he walks about in our world like a roaring 
lion seeking whom he may devour, and will continue to 
do so until the consummation of all things. Some have 
thought, that he has his residence in the heart of every 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 15 

wicked man, and is the cause of so much evil being de- 
vised by it. These opinions cannot all be true, which 
creates a suspicion they may all be false. 

4th. The nature and character of the Devil. The 
devil is universally believed to be a spirit. God is 
not more certainly believed to be a good spirit, than 
he is believed to be an evil spirit. Not one good 
quality is supposed to be in his nature or char- 
acter. On the contrary, every evil, and that in the 
highest degree, is found in him. He is a perfect com- 
pound of all that is evil, and the irreconcilable enemy 
of God and man. As he is incapable of being made 
better, it is believed he is so bad that he cannot be 
made worse. To say a person or thing is as bad as 
the devil, is. saying the worst that can be said concern- 
ing them. 

5th. The extraordinary powers ascribed to him. 

Many people consider him almost omniscient, omni- 
present, and omnipotent. He is supposed to know the 
thoughts, words, and actions of all men ; that he is in 
all parts of the world at the same time ; and effects 
things by his power, little inferior to God himself. God 
is the only being in the universe who is able to control 
him. He can assume any form, shape, or color; and 
though an angel of darkness, can transform himself into 
an angel of light. One would be almost led to think, 
he had greatly increased his powers by his sin and 
rebellion, for no good angel is ever represented as pos- 
sessing such extraordinary powers as Christians ascribe 
to the devil. If his powers have been curtailed by his 
rebellion against God, what must they have been be- 
fore it ? 

6th. How the Devil is employed. It would be an 
endless task to enumerate all the various work in which 
he is supposed to have engaged, since bis expulsion 



1*6 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

from heaven. One of the first things he engaged in 
was to tempt our first parents to sin, and thereby ruined 
them and all their posterity. Ever since, he has been 
seducintr every son and daughter of Adam to all kinds 
of sin fomenting all sorts of mischief, and producing 
misery in our world. He is supposed to be walking 
about seeking whom he may devour, deceives the 
whole world, and accuses the very best of men before 
God He infuses evil thoughts and desires into men s 
minds, and is ever ready to assist them in the execu- 
tion of their wicked purposes, and the gratification oi 
their sinful lusts and passions. He is supposed not only 
to inflict many severe bodily diseases, but to harrass the 
mind, so as to drive persons to distraction and suicide. 
He is believed to have been the cause of all Job s 
afflictions, to have bound a woman eighteen years with 
an infirmity, and urged Judas on in his course of wick- 
edness until he betrayed Jesus, and was finally led to 
han^ himself. He is also allowed to blind men s minds 
about the gospel, and harden their hearts, and is at 
work in the heart of every child of disobedience. He 
not only picks up the seed of the word when sown, 
lest men should believe it and be saved, but those who 
do believe it, are the objects of his particular malice 
whom thou Mi he cannot ruin forever, he is determined 
to render as miserable as possible. All wicked men 
are his, and his care is, to keep them under his 
power and dominion. Some marvellous accounts have 
been Mven, of his torturing and tormenting good peo- 
ple, and of some who sold themselves soul and body to 
him At the stipulated time, he has come and carried 
them away bodily to hell. It is the belief of some 
that at death, the devil carries off the souls of wicked 
men to the same place. Those who wish to inform 
themselves more fully may consult Boston's works, 



AN INQUIRY PART 1. 1*7 

Edwards, Jeremy Taylor, Godwin, and many other 
authors on this subject. 

7tb. The various names by ivhich he is designated. 
What the devil's name was before he sinned in heaven 
we have never been able to ascertain ; but if we cannot 
ascertain who or what the devil is, it is not for want of 
names, which are supposed to distinguish him from 
every other being-. He is called in Scripture, as 
many suppose, satan, the devil, the evil one, the 
tempter, the old serpent, the god of this world, the 
prince of this world, and the prince of the power of 
the air. These are his principal titles, with a few 
others which are of less consequence, and do not re- 
quire any particular notice. He has also a great 
variety of vulgar names, which to put on paper, 
would only be to promote the laughter of fools, which 
is no object with me in writing. If such a.bSing does 
exist, we are called to weep, rather than to laugh. If 
he does not, I wish soberly and seriously to expose 
such a false and pernicious opinion. We protest 
against the common use of such names in daily conver- 
sation, whether the people believe or disbelieve his ex- 
istence. One thing we remark, that all such vulgar 
names are designed to designate a real being or fallen 
angel, by people who thus use them. 

8th. His endless existence and future prospects* It 
is not only believed the devil does exist, but that 
he will forever exist, the same wicked and malignant 
being. It is the common opinion, that no Saviour has, 
or ever will be provided for him. He is considered be- 
yond the limits of God's mercy. This door is forever 
closed to him, and his repentance and return to his for- 
mer allegiance and happiness is considered utterly 
hopeless. Nor is it thought that he will ever desire it, 
but would scorn such a proposal ; for his mind is 



18 AN INQUIRY PART I, 

made up, rather to reign in hell than serve in heaven. 
Some have held the opinion, he will finally be restored, 
but will be the last being in the universe, who shall be 
delivered from future misery. 

But it is the general opinion, that however miserable 
the devil is, he has nothing better to hope for ; nor is 
he concerned for his miserable condition. As God can- 
not, or will hot alter it, so he disdains to complain, or to 
sue for mercy. With such an endless, dreary prospect of 
intolerable misery before him, yet he scorns to submit, 
and his stout heart, supported by malice and revenge, 
is consoled, that if God is to be his eternal tormentor, 
to the same duration he shall be the tormentor of a 
large portion of mankind. 

Such is a brief summary of the common opinions 
entertained of the Devil and Satan, and are by 
some still preached to the world. It is true, 
the ancient zeal for such opinions has considerably- 
abated, but still enough remains to prevent me from 
being a favorite with the religious public for calling 
them in question. From early life such opinions have 
been imbibed ; they have been nourished and strength- 
ened by religious instruction in after life ; and from the 
universal influence of public opinion in their favor, peo- 
ple have been deterred from inquiring — are they true? 
But, let any sober-minded man sit down and seriously 
reflect on such opinions, and we think he must be sat- 
isfied they cannot all be true. They are at variance 
with each other, and some of them are incredible and 
literally impossible, unless the devil be nearly equal to 
God himself. When brought to the test of Scripture 
and examined, we think they will be found wanting ; 
having no better foundation than the doctrine of witch- 
craft, which is now almost exploded. The evidence of 
this we hope will appear in succeeding Sections. 



AN INQUIRY — PART I. ]Q 



SECTION II. 

REMARKS ON GEN. ill- SHOWING, THAT THE SERPENT 
WHICH DECEIVED EVE WAS NOT A FALLEN ANGEL. 

In considering the Scripture doctrine concerning the 
devil and satan, Gen. iii. first claims our attention. 
Those who are not familiar with its contents will please 
turn to it, and read it. The common opinion is, that 
the serpent which deceived Eve, was a fallen angel, 
and is throughout the Bible called the devil and satan. 
This is taken for granted, and it will be considered vain 
and impious to call it in question. But I shall pro- 
ceed to state facts and arguments, proving, that in 
whatever way this chapter ought to be understood, it 
gives no countenance to such opinions. 

1st. Moses in the two preceding chapters of Gene- 
sis, makes no mention of an angel, who fell from heaven. 
If such an event had happened, he was either igno- 
rant of it, was not authorised, or deemed it unnecessary 
to mention it. We may with equal truth assert, that 
God created the devil, as assert, that an angel had be- 
come so, from any thing Moses has said in these chap- 
ters. But ought not this to have been announced in 
them, if it be true, that he is spoken of in the third as 
the cause of the fall of man ? 

2d. It is a fact equally indisputable, that Moses in 
this account, does not say that the serpent was a fallen 
angel. It is from what he does say, that we can learn 
what he believed, and not from his silence on the sub- 



20 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

ject. It is not easily conjectured, how such an opinion 
came to be inferred from this account. The circum- 
stances related lead to a very different conclusion. — 
Observe the connexion between the second and 
third chapters. In chapter ii. 19, 20, it is said, 
" And out of the ground the Lord God formed every 
beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, and 
brought them unto Adam, to see what he would 
call them : and whatsoever Adam called every liv- 
ing creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam 
gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and 
to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not 
found an help meet for him." The third chapter be- 
gins thus — " Now the serpent was more subtle than any 
beast of the field which the Lord God had made."— 
Any one reading these two passages, would conclude 
that the serpent was a beast of the field, which the 
Lord brought to Adam, and which he had named ser- 
pent. The connexion leads to this conclusion, unless 
we suppose God brought a fallen angel among the 
beasts of the field to Adam, and that he gave him this 
name. But it would be foolish to assert this. 

Again, let it be observed, that the woman did not 
accuse a fallen angel as her deceiver, verse 13. God 
says to her — " What is this that thou hast done ?" She 
answers him, " the serpent beguiled me and I did eat." 
Had either Eve or Moses believed such an evil being 
was the cause of her disobedience, would they have 
imputed it to a beast of the field ? When God 
made inquisition, he traces the evil from Adam 
to the woman, and from the woman to the serpent, 
and here both stop. But had there been any other 
agent concerned, I ask, would either of them have 
stopped here? But again, Moses does not represent 
the serpent as a fallen angel in the punishment inflicted, 



AN INQUIRY PAHT I. 



21 



verses 14, 15. It is evident God calls the deceiver of 
Eve, serpent. If a fallen angel used this reptile as a 
cover for his deception, it is certain he is not accused 
of the crime, nor does he suffer any punishment. From 
any thing said in the account, we may as justly accuse 
the angel Gabriel of deceiving Eve, as a fallen angel, 
and the punishment inflicted, fell on, and was as much 
suited to the former as to the latter. Was this fallen 
angel to go upon his belly and to eat dust all the days 
of his life ? 

3d. But another fact is, Moses in no part of his wri- 
tings, gives us any information about an angel who fell 
from heaven and had become a devil. Let any one read 
the five books of Moses, and he must be convinced, 
that such a being is not once mentioned by him under 
any name. Had Moses only recognized the ex- 
istence of such an evil spirit, there might be some 
ground for supposing that he used the serpent as 
a tool to effect the deception of Eve. But his 
entire silence on this subject, throughout his whole 
writings, forbids such a supposition. For more than 
two thousand years then, such an evil being was 
unknown among men. Was Moses afraid to speak out 
on this subject ? But pray, what temptation had he to 
conceal such information ? Let any candid man say, 
if Moses knew such an evil being existed, had de- 
ceived Eve, was such an enemy to God and the human 
race, whether he would have been silent about him. 
Such an important article we might naturally expect, 
would be conspicuous in his writings. But will any 
man affirm that this is the case ? 

4th. Another fact strongly confirms all the pre- 
ceding. No Old Testament writer says, Moses by 
the serpent, Genesis iii., meant a fallen angel. — 
They never speak of such a being by the name ser- 



22 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 



pent, so that all foundation for such a supposition is 
out of the present question. But I ask, had they be- 
lieved as people do now, would this have been the 
case ? It is true, there are seme texts in the Old Tes- 
tament, from which it has been concluded that such a 
being is called satan. These will be fully considered 
in the next Section. Here, let the reader only notice, 
that no Old Testament writer considered the serpent a 
fallen angel, the devil of Christians. They frequently 
use the term serpent, but never insinuate that a fallen 
angel used this reptile in deceiving Eve. For four 
thousand years, then, no such opinion seems to have 
been entertained by any sacred writer. 

5th. What shows that the serpent, Genesis iii., 
was not a fallen angel is, in the Bible there are both 
allusions and direct references to the account of Eve's 
deception and the entrance of sin, but no intimation is 
given, that a fallen angel was the cause of either. We 
shall briefly notice the principal of them. Paul, 2 Cor. 
xi 3, says — : 'But I fear lest by any means, as the 
serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your 
minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is 
in Christ." 

Paul here calls the deceiver of Eve the seryent, as Mo- 
ses did, but not a syllable escapes him, that the devil used 
this beast of the field as a cover for his deception. If 
this was the orthodox belief in Paul's day, he gave no 
sanction to it as an inspired teacher. He agrees with 

111 • ° 

all the preceding sacred writers, in being silent about 
the devil seducing our first parents. But if Paul 
believed this doctrine, is it not strange, that in a 
direct reference to the deception of Eve by the 
serpent, he should give no intimation that such a 
wicked being was the principal agent? But again, 
Job says, chap. xxxi. 33 — " If I covered my trans- 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 



23 



gressions as Adam by hiding mine iniquity in my bo- 
som." But instead of the words, " as Adam," we have 
in the margin, " after the manner of men." But al- 
lowing the rendering in the text correct, Job gives us 
no hint that he believed an evil spirit was the cause of 
Adam's sin. Again, in Hosea vi. 7, it is said — "but 
they like men, (in the margin like Adam) have trans- 
gressed the covenant." But a more direct reference we 
have, Rom. v. 12 — 14. — "Wherefore as by one man 
sin entered into the world, and death by sin ; and so 
death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned : 
for until the law sin was in the world : but sin is not 
imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death 
reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had 
not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, 
who is the figure of him that was to come." Here Paul 
expressly declares, that, by one man, and not by a fallen 
angel, sin entered the world. But again, he says, 1 
Cor. xv. 22. — " for as in Adam all die, even so in 
Christ shall all be made alive." See also verses 45 — 
49. But still, he does not say a word about the devil 
or a fallen angel having any concern with either sin or 
death by Adam. In 1 Tim. ii. 13, 14. the apos- 
tle directly alludes to the third chapter of Genesis. — 
"But Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam 
was not deceived, but the woman, being deceived, was 
in the transgression." The apostle here says, Eve was 
deceived, but not a word about her being deceived by 
a fallen angel. He told us, 2 Cor. xi. 3, that the 
serpent beguiled her, and this is just what Eve said 
herself, " the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." — 
Gen. iii. 13. 

Such are the references made in Scripture, to the ac- 
count given us by Moses in the third chapter of Gene- 
sis, except two or three passages, where we read of that 



24 



AN INQ.UIRY PART I. 



old serpent, the devil and satan. These will be con- 
sidered in Section viii. 

6th. But admitting such an evil spirit did exist, 
call him by what name you please, how is the 
character of God to be defended in not forewarning 
our first parents against his evil devices ? It is evi- 
dent, not a word of caution was afforded them. They 
have to learn his existence by the mischief he does 
them, and if God gives them information afterwards 
concerning him, it comes too late to be of any benefit 
to them. Was God ignorant of the fall of this angel 
from heaven? Or, could he be ignorantof his evil de- 
vices, and not foresee the ruin of our first parents by 
him? This is impossible. Are we then to conclude, 
God concealed the knowledge of such a being from 
them, that they might be seduced and ruined ? — 
I should rather conclude that no such being ex- 
isted, about which God could give them information. 
He did foresee the consequences of their being seduced, 
and he guarded them against the true tempter as we 
shall presently see. 

7th. The fall of an angel from heaven, and be- 
coming a devil, is certainly a very remarkable 
event. It is rendered more so, by its connexion 
with the fall of man, in making him a sinner, and 
entailing, according to many, eternal misery on his 
posterity. The very nature of the case leads us to 
think, that Moses would have related the fall of this 
angel, before he introduced the fall of man. But no- 
thing like this is found, nor is the one related as having 
any connexion with the other. Moses says just as much 
about the ascent of a devil to heaven, and becoming a 
good angel, as he does about the fall of an angel from 
heaven, and becoming a devil ; and the deception of 
Eve, is just as much ascribed to the former as to the 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 

latter. Nor, does any later scripture writer teach I 
doctrine of a fallen angel, or ascribe the fall of man to 
his evil influence. But allowing the existence of such 
a being we would notice, 

8th. There is no evidence in this account, that a 
fallen angel knew that one tree of the garden was pro- 
hibited, and it is not easy to understand how a mere 
serpent could know it. Did God inform the devil about 
the prohibition ? Or was he present when it was given ? 
It does not appear that Eve informed him, for the ser- 
pent began the conversation with her, and seems to 
have known all about it. This very circumstance, re- 
presenting the serpent as perfectly acquainted with the 
prohibition, suggests that Moses merely used the 
serpent to represent something else, which will ration- 
ally account for this. 

9th. Admitting for a moment, that the devil did as- 
sume the likeness of a serpent, how does this accord 
with the policy which this arch deceiver is sup- 
posed to possess ? For his advocates affirm, he 
can assume a much more agreeable likeness than 
that of a vile, contemptible reptile. Besides, he 
does not seem to have chosen this appearance often 
since, for people represent him as appearing in va- 
rious forms, but seldom if ever in that of a serpent. 

10th. Unless we believe that Eve was on familiar 
terms with the devil, and knew that serpents spoke and 
reasoned in those days, she was more likely to be 
frightened than deceived. A speaking serpent, or the 
devil under this likeness, would terrify the most coura- 
geous female among us. But Eve showed no signs of 
fear, or even suspicion on this occasion. She con- 
versed with the devil, or the serpent, with as much ap- 
parent composure, as she could have done with Adam. 
The common belief malces her, a perfect holy creature. 



26 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

to fall before a temptation, and that by means of agents, 
which almost all her sinful posterity would have re- 
sisted. What man, what female, now, would be de- 
ceived into disobedience by a speaking serpent, or the 
devil under this likeness ? If pure mother Eve could 
not resist such a temptation, how can it be expected 
her corrupt offspring can resist any temptation ? All 
these things lead me to suspect, this account of 
the deception of Eve by a serpent, was intended to 
teach us something else ; and' that we are indebted to 
Milton, rather than Moses, for the common opinions 
entertained on this subject. 

I shall now state for candid consideration my own 
opinion of this passage. We find it then said, chap. 
iii. 1 — " Now the serpent was more subtle than any 
beast of the field." — The question is — What ser- 
pent did Moses mean ? Chapter ii. 19, would 
lead us to conclude it was a beast of the field. — « 
But it will be asked — What ! could serpents speak 
and reason in those days ? I answer, we have no evi- 
dence that they did. It will be asked, what then 
did he mean by the serpent ? 1 would answer this by 
asking — did not Moses in this account mean to inform 
us how Eve was deceived, and hoiv sin was first intro- 
duced! To this all will readily agree. Well, the 
serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field, and 
was the fittest creature which could be chosen to illus- 
trate by a figure how Eve was deceived. Let it be 
recollected, Moses wrote this account more than two 
thousand years after it happened, and selects the ser- 
pent, celebrated for its subtilty among mankind. And 
why might not Moses select this creature as a figure 
for deception, as other scripture writers do the lion for 
ferocity, the lamb for meekness, and the dove for 
harmlessness ? < 



' AN INQUIRY PART I. 27 

It will be said, allowing this to be true, what de- 
ceived Eve, and which Moses here represents by the 
subtilty of the serpent ? I answer, lust or desire. — 
That Adam and Eve were created with appetites or 
desires will not be questioned. They desired, or lusted 
after the fruit of the other trees of the garden, and ate 
of them. Nor would there have been any sin in lust- 
ing after and eating the fruit of the prohibited tree more 
than the others, but for the prohibition. It was this, 
and this alone, which could render it criminal. Before 
the prohibition was given, there was no sin in either. 
But this only provokes the question — How came Eve 
to desire the fruit of the prohibited tree? Answer; 
she could no more prevent herself having desires, than 
she could prevent herself being made, or made just such 
a creature with such appetites ; and the very prohibi- 
tion not to eat of this tree, was calculated to excite cu- 
riosity in her about it, and create desire after it. What 
man has not known the truth of this from experience ? 
The evil did not lie in Eve's having appetites and de- 
sires, but her appetites and desires took occasion from 
the very prohibition, and in this way she was deceived 
and eventually sinned. What Paul says, Rom, vii. 
7 — H 5 Eve might have said, " I had not known sin 
but by the law : for I had not known lust except the 
law had said thou shalt not eat. But sin taking occa- 
sion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner 
of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. 
For I was alive without the law once ; but when the 
commandment came, sin revived, and 1 died. And the 
commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to 
be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the com- 
mandment deceived me, and by it slew me." What 
does Paul here say deceived him ? It was sin talcing 
occasion by the commandment, or desire, which is the 



28 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 



origin of sin ; for lust or desire, " when it bath con- 
ceived, bringeth forth sin." James i. 15. So in re- 
gard to Eve. There could be no difference betwixt 
Paul and her, unless we suppose one of two things. — 
First, That Eve was created without lust or desire al- 
together, which was certainly not the case. Or, sec- 
ond, That she was incapable of desiring what God had 
prohibited. If so, then she would have been incapable 
of sinning. The event proved that she was not. It 
should ever be kept in view, that sin does not consist 
in having lust or desire, nor even in being tempted to 
gratify desire contrary to the commandment, but in 
complying with the temptation. Jesus Christ had de- 
sire, and was tempted, but resisted the temptation, as 
will appear in Section vii. 

If the serpent then was more subtle than any beast 
of the field, it was the fittest creature which could be 
selected to show the deceit of lust. In this view, the 
whole dialogue between Eve and her own lust, is both 
striking and natural. The serpent, or Eve's lust after 
the fruit, says — " Yea, hath God said ; ye shall not 
eat of every tree of the garden ?" Thus her lust takes 
occasion by the commandment to desire the fruit. But 
Eve knew the commandment, hence she replied to her 
lust — " We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the gar- 
den : but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst 
of the garden, God hath said, ye shall not eat of it, 
neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die." To this lustre- 
plied — " Ye shall not surely die ; for God doth know, 
that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be 
opened ; and ye shall be as gods knowing good and 
evil." Permit me to ask, could any thing be more 
fitly chosen to describe the artful, plausible insinuations 
of lust or desire after some forbidden object ? But the 
woman ceases to oppose her lust, by reasoning further 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 29 

on the subject. « And when the woman saw that the 
tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the 
eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she 
took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also 
unto her husband with her, and he did eat." From 
its being said—" the woman saw that the tree was 
good for food," some have concluded, that she saw a 
serpent eat of the fruit, and no evil following, she con- 
cluded it must be good for her food also. If this is 
true, it was calculated to excite desire in her, and em- 
bolden her to proceed. It was also an additional rea- 
son for introducing the serpent into this account. If 
the word saw, is here used in the sense of considered, 
as is evidently its sense in some other parts of Scrip- 
ture, she must then have considered, or inferred that 
the fruit was good for food, from seeing the serpent eat ; 
or drew this conclusion, from looking at the fruit and 
the reasonings of her own lust or desire about it. The 
last I am inclined to think was the case. But let these 
things be as they may, it is certain the tree appeared 
pleasant to her eye, and a tree to be desired to make 
one wise. This her lust told her. All know lust is 
subtile and eloquent in its persuasions, and never fails 
to promise, that we shall be wiser and happier by its 
indulgence. Eve was overcome by the lust of the 
flesh and the lust of the eye. She eat, and gave also 
to her husband and he did eat. He hearkened to the 
voice ol his wife, and thus « Adam was not deceived, 
but the woman being deceived was (first) in the trans- 
gression."—! Tim. ii. 14. 

It will likely be said, plausible as this appears, what 
evidence have we that Eve's lust is here represented by 
tne serpent, and that this dialogue was between her 
and her own lust? The evidence which inclines me 
to this view of the subject I shall very briefly state, 



30 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

1st. I find lust or desire stated in Scripture to be 
the source or origin of transgression. James says, ch. 
i. 15 — "Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth: 
forth sin ; and sin when it is finished bringeth forth 
death." See also chap. iv. 1, and other texts which 
I need not quote. The conceivings of lust after any 
object, never could bring forth sin, unless that object 
was prohibited. Paul says — " I had not known sin 
but by the law : for I had not known lust, except the 
law had said thou shalt not covet." Rom. vii. 7. It 
is the doctrine of Scripture, and of common sense, that 
where there is no law, there can be no transgression. 
Allow me then to ask, must not lust in Eve have been 
the source of sin, just as it is in us? Can any good 
reason be assigned why it is now the source of sin in us 
but was not so with her ? 

2d. Sin, and lust the source of sin, are always re- 
presented in Scripture as deceitful and beguiling. Paul, 
Heb. hi. 13, speaks of the " deceitfulness of sin," and 
declares, Rom. vii. 11, that sin taking occasion by the 
commandment " deceived" him and slew him. And 
in Eph. iv. 22, he exhorts to put off "the old man, 
which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts" And 
as all the conceivings of lust are in the heart, it is said 
— " the heart is deceitful above all things." — Jer. xvii. 
9. The serpent then was more subtle than any beast 
of the field, and was just as fit to represent the deceit 
of lust, as the dove is to represent the quality of harm- 
lessness, or the lamb that of meekness. Those familiar 
with the scriptures know, that many of the beasts of the 
field are used as figures, in a similar way, which it 
would be tedious to detail. For example: our Lord 
says, " be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves." 
And it is well known, that in Daniel and the book of 
Revelation, the writers deliver their prophecies under 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 3X 

the figure of beasts, and other symbols derived from the 
material world. 

3d. In after parts of Scripture, the serpent is used, 
as a figure for cunning and deceit. The word rendered 
serpent in the account before us is Nehesh. - Taylor 
says it signifies the " common snake. But in southern, 
hot, desert countries, the snakes may be larger or more 
venomous than in the cold northern climates." It is 
used literally for the snake or serpent, Job xxvi. 13 
fcccles. x. 8, Prov. xxx. 19, Deut. viii. 15, Numb! 
xxi. 7, 9, Amos ix. 3, Jer.xlvi. 22, Mic. vii, 17, Jer. 
viii. 17, Eccles.x. 11, Amos v. 19, Numb. xxi. 6. 
1 he same word is used for the brazen serpent which 
Moses made, 2 Kings, xviii. 4, Numb. xxi. 9. Also 
lor Moses' rod changed to a serpent, Exod. iv. 3, and 
vn. 15. It is used figuratively for tribes and nations, 
and to express a state of subjugation, degradation, &c. 
ten. xhx. 17, Isai. xxvii. 1, Mic, vii. 17: Isai. Ixv. 25. 
I his word is also used figuratively, to set forth the de- 
cert and lies of wicked men. Please consult the fol- 
lowing passages. Psalms lviii.3— 5, and cxl 1—4 
Eodes. x. 11, Isai. xiv. 29, Prov. xxiii. 32. If the 
cunning and deceit of the serpent was learned by men 
from experience and observation, and was used .figura 
lively for this purpose, why not also by Moses in this 
account in showing how Eve was deceived by her own 
lust ? Was it not just as proper a figure, to show how 
sin entered by the deceit of lust, as to illustrate its de- 
ceitfulness, in its progress among men afterwards ? If 
Just is deceitful now, and if the serpent on account of 
subtlety is a proper figure to express it, at what date 
stall we hx the commencement of its deceit, and the 
use o this figure, if my view of this subject is contro- 
verted ? J 

4th. The view given of Eve's deception by the ser» 



32 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

pent, or her own lust, accords with every man's own 
experience. We all, like her, have appetites and de- 
sires, nor is it sinful to have them, or even to gratify 
them in the way, or to the extent God allows us. But I 
ask, where is the man to be found, who has not felt the 
conceivings of lust within him after some forbidden ob- 
ject ? And can any man deny the subtle, deceitful 
influence, which lust has had over his reason and un- 
derstanding ? Yea, I appeal to every man, if some- 
thing of a Vimilar dialogue has not taken place with 
him & and his own lust, as I have said took place between 
Eve and hers. Our consciences, if well informed, will 
reason and remonstrate against our desires, and in favor 
of obedience to the commandment. And can the man 
be found, who will affirm, that his lusts have never flat- 
tered him into disobedience ? In the very best of men, 
the flesh has lusted against the spirit, and the spirit 
against the flesh, and made them exclaim— 4 ' O wretch- 
ed man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body 

of death." 

5th. The view I have given of Eve s deception, ac- 
cords with what is stated in the subsequent part of the 
chapter. The first thing stated is—" the eyes of them 
both were opened," as the serpent or lust had sug- 
gested to Eve, verse 5. They came to know evil as 
well as good by disobedience, but it did not add to their 
happiness and comfort as was expected. Does not 
every man find this, who yields to the flattery of his 
lusts", and transgresses the commandments of God ? — 
But what deserves our notice is, the account to which 
the offenders are called. Adam is first called up, and 
asked—" What is this that thou hast done ?" He an- 
swers— " the woman whom thou gavest to be with me, 
she crave me of the tree and I did eat." The woman 
is next interrogated—" what is this that thou hast 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 33 

done ?" She answers — " the serpent beguiled me and 
I did eat." What serpent beguiled her? I have said 
her own lust taking occasion by the commandment be- 
guiled her. Let us fee how this view accords with the 
sentence pronounced on the serpent. God does not 
say to Eve's lust or the serpent — "what is this that 
thou hast done?" But — "because thou hast done 
this thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every 
beast of the field : upon thy belly shalt thou go, and 
dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life."* The 
sentence is in accordance with the figurative use of the 
term serpent. It would have destroyed the congruity 
of the account to have done otherwise. Well, let us 
see how this sentence agrees to men's bodily appetites 
and desires, as figuratively expressed by the term ser- 
pent. We have said that man was created with bodily 
appetites, passions and desires. These were given him 
to be in subjection to God's will, and not gratified be- 
yond the limits which he prescribed. Eve, listening 
to them beyond this limit, transgressed. In her, and 
all who have followed her example, when gratified be- 
yond this they become degraded and groveling even 
below every beast of the field. The real bodilywants 
of man are few, and their supply easily obtained. But 
to his artificial, sinful desires, no boundaries can hardly 
be prescribed. These often are so low, and filthy, 
that no beast of the field is given to similar indul- 
gences. Men's lusts and passions — " are cursed 
above all cattle and above every beast of the field." — 
Like the natural serpent, dust or earthly gratifications 

* It is not necessary to suppose here, as some have done, that 
the serpent before this walked upright, any more than that there 
was no rainbow before the flood. The rainbow was only used as 
a sign that God would not destroy the earth again with a flood ; 
and the grovelling nature of the serpent to set forth what would 
aiterwards be the state of men's bodily lusts or desires. 



34 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

are their enjoyment, until the person is created anew 
in Christ Jesus, and is led to place his affection on 
things which are above. What shall I eat, and what 
shall I drink, are the questions in which our bodily de- 
sires centre, and to have goods laid up for many years, 
to eat, drink and be merry, are their happiness. But 
the account proceeds — "And I will put enmity be- 
tween thee and the woman, and between thy seed and 
her seed : it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise 
his heel." The seed of the woman here is generally 
understood to refer to Christ. Well, what is the seed 
of the serpent ? I answer sin, for "when lust hath 
conceived it bringeth forth sin." This agrees precisely 
to what Christ was manifested to do. " He was mani- 
fested to take away our sins." This will be shown in 
Sect. vi. The Jews, who were of their father the 
devil, bruised Christ, in crucifying him, but he by his 
death destroyed him that had the power of death, that 
is the devil. The enmity between the seed of the wo- 
man, and the seed of the serpent, is beautifully illus- 
trated by such texts as the following : " They that 
are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its affections 
and lusts. Walk in the spirit and ye shall not fulfil 
the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the 
Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh," fee. To bruise 
a serpent's head is to kill it. And Christ before he de- 
livers up the kingdom is to accomplish the entire de- 
struction of this devil and all his works. See 1 Cor. 
xv. 24, &c. Heb. ii. 14, 15, .with many other texts. 

I shall only add, to represent Eve as holding a dia- 
logue with her own lust, can create no difficulty to per- 
sons familiar with their Bible. The beasts of the field, 
and trees of the wood, are in the figurative language of 
Scripture represented as holding conversation together. 
Nor is the Bible wanting in examples of persons hold- 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 35 

ing dialogues with themselves. But I must suppress 
many additional remarks, which I intended to make on 
the first three chapters of Genesis, as the remarks al- 
ready made, exceed the limits assigned to this part oi 
the subject. 



SECTION III. 

ALL THE TEXTS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, WHERE THE 

ORIGINAL WORD SHAITAN, OR SATAN OCCURS, 

CONSIDERED. 

The passages where the term satan occurs in the 
Old Testament, are now to be brought forward, and 
we urge it on the reader to observe, if satan is a fallen 
angel, the serpent which deceived Eve, as is very gene- 
rally asserted. We shall take up the passages, in the 
order they occur in the common version. Taylor, 
Parkhurst, and all critics declare, that the word satan 
signifies, " an adversary.''' In this sense it was under- 
stood by our translators, for this is their usual rendering 
of it, as we shall see immediately. It occurs then first 
as a noun feminine. 

Gen. xxvi. 21. "And they digged another well, and 
strove for that also: and he called the name of it sit-* 
nali," If the term satan be the name of a fallen an- 
gel, it is strange the sacred writers should first apply it 
to a well. Had the existence of such a being been 
previously announced, it might be supposed he was the 
cause of the strife about this well, and on account of 
which it received this name. But nothing like this is 



36 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

to be found. The well is called sitnah, or satan in the 
text, and we have hatred in the margin as its expla- 
nation. Hatred is the act of an adversary, and the 
context sufficiently shows why it received this name. 
Numb. xxii. 22, 32. " And God's anger was kin- 
dled, because he (Baalam) went : and the angel of the 
Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him. — 
And the angel of the Lord said unto him, wherefore 
hast thou smitten thine ass these three times ? "Behold 
I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is per- 
verse before me." The word satan in the original oc- 
curs twice, and is here rendered by the words adver- 
sary, and, to* withstand thee. In the margin of the 
last verse we have, " to be an adversary unto thee." 
It is obvious, that the satan or adversary who with- 
stood Baalam, instead of being a fallen angel, was the 
angel of Jehovah. It is then a remarkable fact, that 
the first time the term satan is applied to any being in 
the Bible, it is to a good being. But this is concealed 
from the reader, by rendering the word satan, adver- 
sary. It may be observed here, and the remark ap- 
plies to other texts, that had the original word been 
always retained in the text, or had it been uniformly 
rendered adversary, we would have been less liable to 
mistaken views on this subject. Had the first been 
done, we must have recurred to the context and scope 
of the writer to ascertain what he meant by satan ; and 
if a being, what being was referred to. It would have 
been easily perceived, some human adversary was re- 
ferred to, or the angel of Jehovah, as in the passage 
before us. But the word satan being sometimes re- 
tained in the text, and sometimes rendered adversary, 
the common Scripture usage of this word is not per- 
ceived. Besides, people from education and habit, 
have attached the idea of a fallen angel to the word 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 37 

satan, which always suggests the idea of such a being. 
But not so with the word adversary, which is its ren- 
dering in many passages. Accordingly, it is on the 
texts where the term satan is left untranslated, that 
people have built their faith about a fallen angel. This 
idea has been associated with the word in their minds 
from childhood, and it is next to impossible to effect a 
separation. The term satan will suggest it, and the 
meaning of the word, its scripture usage, and the con- 
text of the places where it occurs, are not sufficient to 
destroy it. Commencing the study of the Bible with 
this false idea, all must see how many texts may be 
perverted, not from design, but from the-influence of 
this false association. We know of no better w,ay to 
correct it than to recur to the original sense of the 
term satan, and examine all the places where it occurs, 
with their respective contexts. 

Should it be asked — why did not the translators of 
our English version either render this word always ad- 
versary, or uniformly leave the term satan untransla- 
ted ? I answer: had they always rendered it adver- 
sary, they could not so easily have infused into their 
version the idea of a fallen angel. Had they always 
retained the original word, its application to the angel 
of Jehovah, human being's and things would have led 
people to conclude that it did not designate such an 
evil being. King James, under whose patronage the 
version was made, not only believed that satan was a 
fallen angel, but he wrote in defence of the doctrine of 
witchcraft. 

1 Sam.xxix.4. " And the princes of the Philistines 
said unto him, make this fellow return, that he may go 
again to his place which thou hast appointed him, and 
let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle 
he be an adversary to us." Here again the term satan 



08 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

is rendered adversary, and it is evident from the con- 
text, that David, not a fallen angel is meant. Nor, 
.need this surprise us, seeing the angel of Jehovah was 
called so in the preceding passage. Many people do 
not know this, but it would have been evident had our 
translators, as in other places, left the term satan un- 
translated. This is the first place in the Bible where 
the word satan is applied to a human being, and it is 
applied to a man who feared God. It need not then 
surprise us, that our Lord called Peter satan, and Ju- 
das a devil. It is very obvious, the idea of a fallen 
angel attached to the word satan, is calculated to mis- 
lead us, for this term is used to designate the very best 
of created beings. 

2 Sam. xix. 22. "And David said, what have I to 
do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day 
be adversaries unto me." Here the term satan is used 
in the plural, and is rendered adversaries. The satans 
referred to, are expressly called the sons of Zeruiah. 
Wicked men they might be, but no one supposes they 
were fallen angels. Besides, it is commonly believed, 
there is but one being in the universe which goes by 
this name, yet here we find the term used in the plural 
and applied to men. In the New Testament we read 
of demons, and of a person possessed with a legion of 
them. But David does not say the sons of Zeruiah 
were demons, or possessed with demons or satans, but 
that they were satans to him. This shows clearly, the 
term simply means an adversary, and was the sense 
David attached to it. We seldom if ever use it in the 
plural, for the unity of satan is the common belief as 
much as the unity of God. 

1 Kings v. 4. " But now the Lord my God hath 
given me rest on every side, so that there is neither 
adversarv nor evil occurrent." Here the term satan 



AN INQUIRY PART I. £9 

is used in the singular, and is again rendered adversa- 
ry. Solomon does not name", as in the preceding 
text, any person referred to, but the scope of the con- 
text evidently shows, that he had in view, human be- 
ings, who were accustomed to be satans or adversaries 
to Israel. David had many such sutaris to contend 
with during his reign, but now Solomon had none of 
them to disturb the peace of his kingdom. He there- 
fore determined to build an house to the Lord, which 
his father was prevented from doing by his frequent 
wars with them. We shall soon see that Solomon was 
not altogether free from his troubles from such satans 
or adversaries. 

1 Kings xi. 14, 23, 25. "And the Lord stirred up 
an adversary unto Solomon ; Hadad the Edomite : he 
was of the king's seed in Edom. And God stirred him 
up another adversary, Rezon, the son of Eliadab, which 
fled from his lord Hadadezer, King of Zobah. And 
he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, 
beside the mischief that Hadad did : and he abhor- 
red Israel and reigned over Syria." In these verses 
the word saian is used three times, and is uniformly 
rendered adversary. The term is applied to human 
beings, who are distinctly named, Hadad the Edom- 
ite, and Rezon the son of Eliadah. The last was a 
satan to Solomon all his days. It would be ridiculous 
to suppose the term satan here, had any reference to 
a fallen angel ; for the in first case it would be to 
make him an Edomite, and in the second the son of 
Eliadah, and that he was called Hadad and Rezon 
as well as satan. It is of more importance to ob- 
serve, God stirred up those satans against Solo- 
mon. Had only one satan been mentioned, and no 
name given to show who was particularly meant, it is 
likely some would have concluded, that God stirred 



40 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

up a fallen angel against him. But here, it is put be- 
yond all controversy, that satan has no reference to a 
fallen angel. We would then ask, ought not such 
texts,' where the circumstances mentioned, so clearly 
decide that this term designates no such being, _ to 
teach us caution in concluding that this is its meaning 
in any passage ? When the word satan is introduced, 
and no circumstances are mentioned clearly to decide 
who or what is meant, is it rational or scriptural to 
say a fallen angel or wicked spirit must be meant ? 
We should think not; and until it is satisfactorily 
proved, that such a being does exist, no rational man 
would ever think of such a conclusion. 

1 Chron. xxi. 1. " And satan stood up against Is- 
rael, and provoked David to number Israel." Here, 
for the first time, the word satan is left untranslated ; 
but I can perceive no good reason why it was not ren- 
dered adversary, as it is in other places. No evi- 
dence appears from the text or context, that a fallen 
angel or wicked spirit provoked David to number Is- 
rael. If the rule in other cases be allowed here, plain 
passages ought to interpret doubtful and obscure ones, 
and common scripture usage of a word, ought to de- 
termine in particular cases in what sense the sacred 
writers used it. It is then determined here, for no 
previous scripture writer has said any thing about a 
fallen angel, or used the word satan in reference to 
such a being. Supposing they had done this, it would 
not be safe to conclude he was spoken of, for the term 
satan is applied to human beings in preceding pas- 
sages, which might be the case here. In every text 
the question ought to be, what satan or adversary is 
intended ? As the word is not translated, and the 
idea of a fallen angel [is associated with it in peo- 
ple's minds, and nothing directly being said to the 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 41 

contrary, it is concluded that this being provoked Da- 
vid to number Israel. Though the labor of proving 
this belongs to them, yet I shall offer the following 
proof to the contrary. 

1st. If the term satan designates, in this passage, a 
fallen angel, it is the first time we hear any thing con- 
cerning such a being in the Bible, under this or any 
other name. But it is evident satan is not here in- 
troduced as a new and extraordinary being, nor is 
there any evidence that the word is used in a different 
sense from what it is in the passages already con- 
sidered. To believe his existence from the text, is 
not only implicit faith, but in face of evidence to the 
contrary, arising from scripture usage of the word, 
and the silence of all preceding writers about such a 
being. 

2d. Had the word satan been rendered adversary, 
previous scripture usage would have led us to con- 
clude, one of David's enemies had menaced him with 
a new war, and thus provoked him to number Israel. 
It should be remembered, that the strength of Israel 
did not consist in the multitude of their armies, but 
their confidence in Jehovah and obedience to his laws. 
In numbering Israel, David sinned greatly, as it inti- 
mated a removal of his trust from God to that of the 
number and strength of his forces. It has been 
thought by some that David's sin consisted in his 
wishing to establish a military government for con- 
quest, hence gave orders to enrol all Israel for this 
purpose. 

3d. But what in this passage- is ascribed to satan, 
is in 2 Sam. xxiv. 1, ascribed to God. "And the an- 
ger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he 
moved David against them to say, go number Israel 
and Judah." We are sure that God tempts no man 



42 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

to evil, James i. 13. Should it be said God permit- 
ted satan, a fallen angel, to do it, we ask where is the 
proof of this ? The passage affords none, except the 
gratuitous sense affixed to the term satan, which sig- 
nifies an adversary. To say it here means a fallen 
angel, is not only begging the question, but is opposed 
to all former scripture usage of this word. 

4th. When David's heart smote him for his sin, he 
imputes no part of the blame either to satan or God. 
No, he says — " I have sinned greatly because I have 
done this thing." 1 Chron. xxi. 8. Nor, do we find 
that satan suffers any part of the punishment, or is 
threatened with any. Others suffered severely for his 
sin, but if satan was the chief cause of all this evil, 
why does he escape all punishment? David does not 
plead his influence in mitigation of his offence, or the 
punishment it incurred. But if either God or a fallen 
angel moved David to commit this sin, why did no 
blame attach to them ? 

5th. But some orthodox critics declare, that there 
is no reference to such a being in this passage. Park- 
hurst says, on this word ; " I would understand it, 1 
Chron. xxi. 1, of a human adversary : compare 2 Sam. 
xxvi. 1, which perhaps may be best rendered ; and 
again the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Israel, 
and David was moved against them by (one's) say- 
ing, or rather indefinitely, and one moved David 
against them saying, go number Israel and Judah." 
See Dr. Chandler's Life of King David. Farmer, on 
Christ's Temptation, quoting from Dr. Chandler, says, 
"for, speaking of David's* numbering the people, he 
says, if the Devil had bid him do it, 1 suppose he might 
have seen the cloven foot, and would scarce have fol- 
lowed the measure for the sake. of the adviser." 

Ezra iv. 6. "And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 43 

beginning of his reign, wrote they unto him an accu- 
sation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusa- 
lem." In this text the word satan is a noun feminine 
and is rendered accusation. Notice, it is not the per- 
sons who wrote who are called satan, but the thing 
written. The persons who wrote, were, properly 
speaking, the satan, or adversary, yet it is the written 
document, sent by them to Ahasuerus, which is called 
satan, for it was not them but it, which' was to ap- 
pear before the king as the accuser or adversary of the 
Jews. Who the persons were we learn from verses 
1 — 6. " The people of the land weakened the hands 
of the people of Judah and troubled them in building. 
And hired counsellors against them to frustrate their 
purpose, all the days of Cyrus, king of Persia." But 
we are told that " in the reign of Ahasuerus in the 
beginning of his reign," they wrote to him, and this 
writing is called a satan or accusation. The term sa- 
tan, then, so far from being the appropriate name-of a 
fallen angel, is applied to "men's evil passions, the an- 
gel of Jehovah, human beings, and here to a piece of 
writing. 

Job i. 6 — 13, and ii. 1 — 11, comes next to be 
considered. To save room I forbear transcribing 
these two passages. The reader can easily read 
them. The term satayi occurs here fourteen times, 
but is uniformly left untranslated. It is rendered, in 
the Seventy's version, by the word diabolos, devil. 
Here, say many good people, satan must mean a 
fallen angel — "for the name, the things, said to be 
done, and all the circumstances mentioned, go to 
prove his existence and wicked character." We 
frankly admit, that these two passages have more the 
appearance of teaching this doctrine, than all the other 
texts adduced as proof of it. We admit, if the devil 



44 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

of Christians is taught in the Bible, this is the place. 
We hope then, that they are willing to abide by the 
result. 

I have examined these two chapters, with all the 
care and attention I could command, and shall submit 
the result for candid consideration, by stating and an- 
swering the following questions : 

1st. Who wrote the book of Job? Answer; about 
this there are various opinions. Some have ascribed 
it to Job himself. Others to Elihu or one of the pro- 
phets. The general opinion has been, that it was 
written by Moses, and composed from materials left 
by Job or his friends in the Syriac or Arabic language. 
See Gray's Key. 

2d. When was the book of Job written ? Answer; 
It is generally agreed that it was written sometime be- 
tween the death of Joseph and the delivery of the law 
at Sinai. It is perhaps impossible for us to fix its pre- 
cise date. Nor is this important in our present inves- 
tigation. Those who wish to see the various opinions 
entertained concerning this, may consult Gray's Key, 
pp. 2-29—253. 

3d. Was Job a real or only a fictitious person ? An- 
swer; some have held the latter opinion. I think Job 
was a real person ; for in after parts of scripture Jiis 
afflictions are represented as real afflictions, and his 
patience under them as an example to us. He is 
spoken of just as Noah and Daniel are. One of the 
.sons of Issachar is called Job, Gen. xlvi. 13, and was 
one of Jacob's grandchildren, who went down with him 
into Egypt. If this was the person who forms the 
subject of the book of Job, it fixes, generally, the 
period in which he lived. 

4th. Is every thing in the book of Job to be under- 
stood literally, or is any allowance to be made for era- 



an iNqumr — part i. 45 

bellishment or allegorical representation? Answer- 
although I think Job was a real person, yet many 
things are set forth in the way of allegory. For ex- 
ample, God is not only represented as talking w j t h 
satan, but as influenced by him to bring accumulated 
sufferings on a just man without cause. These are 
brought in such rapid succession, too, as seldom occurs 
among men. Besides, there seems something studied 
and artificial ; that only one servant should make his 
escape to tell Job what had happened, and before he 
is well done, only one more makes his escape to brinrr 
additional evil tidings. And just as he closes his 
speech, a third also in like manner, and a fourth in 
the same way arrives, and closes the first scene of 
Job s calamities. Besides, throughout the whole book 
there is something very studied and artificial in the set 
speeches of Job and his friends, and even of God 
himself at the close. The writer gives Job just dou- 
ble the number of camels, oxen, sheep, and asses 
without one more or less, which he had at the begin- 
ning. And he gives him precisely the samp number 
of sons, and the same number of daughters, as at the 
first. And finally leaves Job in a more prosperous 
condition than before his afflictions came upon him, 
with a long life of enjoying his prosperity. The book 
concludes without any notice of the removal of Job's 
d.sease, which by some is called elephantiasis, and 
was deemed by physicians incurable. Had the whole 
been matter of fact, and nothing in it allegorical, we 
hardly think such artificial statements could have been 
given. 

5th. In what part of the world were the scenes of 

the book of Job laid ? Answer; we are told, chap. 1 ; 

1, that— "there was a man in the land of Uz, whose 

name was Job." That this was in Chaldea or its 

4 



46 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

neighborhood, is almost certain, for the Chaldean rob. 
berfor freebooters are said to have earned away Jobs 
n i v,,„ \ T7 Dr Parish, in his Sacred Geo- 
S^tp'lL^ and the' authors of .he Uni- 
versal Hfetory, and some ethers plaee the and of Uz 
fesouthlom Damascus, and almost directly east from 
the tribe of Reuben, and west from Chaldea in Ara 
b a Deser.a." But see bis work on the word Uz for 
other opinions about this. See, also, Gray s Key, as 

ferreAo above. It is no, of essential tmportan 
,o determine the prec.se spot where Job lived It is 
sufficient for our purpose that he lived in the east. See 

j0 6 t !, : What were the religious opinions of die peo- 
nle where the scenes of the book are laid ? Answer , 
Thi s a point of very great importance to ascertain. 
Ar 1 odox men who certainly did not write to favor 
°" op nions shall furnish us with all necessary info - 
y Prirleaux in his Connexions, vol. I. pp. 
Tsre tos writes; "Directly opposite to these 
l Z fheMagians, another sect who had , e,r ori- 
ginal in the same eas.ern countries ,toj** ab0 
minating all images, worshipped God only By • n e. 
They began first in Persia, and there, and in I. dia, 
were y tlm only places where this sec, was tjgg*} 
an d there they ^T^™^^ 
S^war^us^all goot hand ^ other t he 
c „n o,nl that is to say, <joq ana tne uevn , 
rnhffoLrls rented uy light, and * ; other 
hv darkness, as their truest symbols; and that, ot 

are made, the gooa ^uu J b f er 1S 

&?££*£ O^sT^ the .a.ter Ari- 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 47 

manius. And therefore, when Xerxes prayed for 
that evil upon his enemies, that it might be put into 
the minds of all of them to drive their best and brav- 
est men from them, as the Athenians had Themisto- 
cles, he addressed his prayers to Arimanius the evil 
god of the Persians, and not to Oramasdez, their good 
god. And concerning these two gods there was this 
difference of opinion among them, that, whereas some 
held both of them to have been from all eternity, 
there were others that contended, that the good god 
only was eternal, and that the other was created. 
But they both agreed in this, that there will be a con- 
tinual opposition between those two till the end of the 
world; that then the good god shall overcome the 
evil god, and that from thenceforward each of them 
shall have his world to himself, that is, the good aod 
his world with all good men with him, and the evil 
god his world with all evil men with him ; that dark- 
ness is the truest symbol of the evil god, and light 
the truest symbol of the good god. And therefore, 
they always worshipped him before fire, as being the 
cause of light, and especially before the sun, as being 
in their opinion the perfectest fire, and causing the 
perlectest light. And for this reason, in all theiAem- 
ples, they had fire continually burning on altars .erect- 
ed in them for that purpose. And before these sacred 
fires they offered up all their public devotions, as like- 
wise they did all their private devotions before their 
private fires in their own houses. Thus did they pay 
the highest honor to light, as being in their opinion 
the truest representative of the good god ; but always 
hated darkness, as being, what they thought, the 
truest representative of the evil god, whom they ever 
had in the utmost detestation, as we now have the 
devil: and, for an instance hereof, whenever they had 



48 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

an occasion, in any of their writings to mention his 
name, they always wrote it backward, and mve. a ed, 

as thus, ueuiBjqv" . . - * . 

That such were the religious opinions of the peo 
pie where Job lived, we should think indisputable, to 
whatever result it may lead. Ahraman or Anmamus, 
the evil principle deified, was the evil god of the peo- 
p The only objection which will be stated against 

§£ is_«That Job lived at too early a period for the 
% oris advanced in this quotation." But in answer 
T P would remark first, that Job's day was not too early 
fcJsabianism or the worship of idols, for this existed 
n Abraham's day: and when Israel entered Canaan 
he worship of idols prevailed among the mhabuan. 
Prideaux speaks of Sabian.sm, as opposite to Magi- 
anism, but does not intimate that the former was of 
a more ancient date. On the contrary, we shall see 
in the next Section, that when Zoroaster arose and 
revived the Magian religion he revived that, winch 
for -many ages" had been the established religion 
of Persia In this account satan is not represented 
as a new or extraordinary being, who had never 
been heard of before. It is taken for granted that 
the people where the scenes of the book are laid, 
were familiar with such a being, and the opinions ex- 
pressed concerning him. This account, which ap- 
pears stran-e to us, they needed no explanation of, any 
rnorethan people among us do, when any man preaches 

about the devil. , , 

But what shows such opinions prevailed where Job 
lived are the facts and circumstances mentioned in 
the account itself. These we shall notice presently. 
Here I would only say, that it is evident satan is in- 
troduced as an evil being, and it h ; generally contend- 
ed that he was the author of all Job's afflictions. This 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 49 

perfectly agrees to the opinions of the Magians, as 
stated by Prideaux. Besides, previous scripture usage 
of .the term satan, forbids us thinking, that the sacred 
writers recognised either an evil god^'or a fallen ancrel 
under this name. Where, let me ask, do any of them 
intimate, that an evil being, such as the Persian evil 
god, or the Christian's devil, existed as a rival to Je- 
hovah ? To what else then could the writer refer, 
but to such heathen opinions? If such a being as the 
Christian's devil existed, how is it accounted for, that 
he remained so quiet until the days of Job ? Job ap- 
pears to have been the first man he ever troubled. 
Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with many others 
were good men, and rich men, but he never attempted 
to injure them in their property, or smite them with a 
single boil in their whole lifetime. From any thing 
which appears to the contrary, they had no fear of 
such a being, nor knew of his existence. Had satan 
just fallen from heaven, in the days of Job, and began 
his depredations on mankind ? Admitting this true, 
how is it, that as Job was the first, so he was the last 
man he ever so tormented ? The case of the woman, 
whom he is said to have bound eighteen years, is no' 
exception to this, as we shall show, Section v. Let 
it be accounted for then, why satan had such a particu- 
lar hatred against Job, above all other men before or 
since. It is easily perceived, these things are ration- 
ally accounted for, on the presumption, that in this ac- 
count there is a reference to the evil god of the people 
among whom Job lived. Allowing this, the account is 
just what might be expected. The character given to sa- 
tan, answers to that of their god, whom they believed 
to be the author and director of all evil. 

The question which now comes forward for con- 
sideration, is— Was this account of satan introduced 



50 AN INQUIRY-— PART 1.. 

for the purpose of establishing, or was it introduced to 
refute such opinions ? Let satan here be considered, 
either the evil principle deified, or the devil of Chris- 
tians, were such opinions intended to be sanctioned by 
the writer, or does he introduce them, to expose their 
fallacy, and establish the supremacy of the one living 
and true God in opposition to them? All/I think, 
will agree that the whole must stand approved or con- 
demned. No middle path can be here taken, for no 
ground is afforded for it. It is then a matter of no 
consequence, whether we consider satan w this account 
the principle of evil deified, or, that he was the Chris- 
tian's devil. Whether the same or different, I shall 
proceed to show, by direct and I think conclusive evi- 
dence, that neither of them had any influence in pro- 
ducing Job's afflictions. That they were all sent by 
the one living and true Cod, whom Job feared and 
obeyed, is evident. 

1st. From Job's own testimony concerning his af- 
flictions. Job's heathen neighbors supposed their evil 
god Ahraman was the cause of them. Christians be- 
lieve their satan or devil was the cause of them. But 
does Job ascribe them to either ? No ; when one 
messenger after another is represented as announcing 
to him the loss of his property and at last the death of 
his children,, he says— " The Lord gave and the Lord 
hath taken away ; blessed be the name of the Lord." 
Chap. i. 21. He does not for a moment admit that 
either Ahraman or the devil had any kind of concern 
in his afflictions. He no more admits their influence 
in taking away his property and children, than in the 
bestowment of them. The giving and taking them 
away, are alike ascribed to Jehovah. Similar were 
his views and feelings, when afflicted with sore boils. 
His wife desired him to curse God and die.. But h% 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 51 

says to her — "Thou speakest as one of the foolish 
women speaketh. What! shall, we receive good at 
the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil ?" Job 
ii. 9, 10. Does this look like acknowledging the Per- 
sian evil god or the Christian's devil ? Notwithstand- 
ing the popular opinions, that Ahraman was the cause 
of all evil, the severe bodily pain he suffered, and the 
taunts of his wife, he holds fast his integrity in the true 
God. Now, permit me to ask, if Job had believed, 
that either Ahraman or the devil brought his afflictions 
upon him, why did he ascribe them all to the true God, 
without reservation ? And why did he not correct his 
wife's mistake, by telling her that Ahraman or the 
devil ought to be cursed? But Job had no faith in 
either, and hence he told her that she spoke as one of 
the foolish or heathen women speaketh. Job allowed 
of but one God, and it is evident, that his adversity 
and prosperity are both alike ascribed to him. See 
chap. xlii. 10 — 12, and i. 21. 

2d. The speech of Job's wife, and his reply to her, 
show, that neither Ahraman nor the devil was the 
cause of his afflictions. She no doubt heard what he 
said, ch. i. 21. Upon seeing him still persisting in his 
integrity, under his affliction of the boils, she was pro- 
voked at him, and in taunting language says to him: 
" dost thou still retain thine integrity ? Curse God and 
die." On the word rendered to curse, Parkhurst thus 
writes : " The lexicons have absurdly, and contrary 
to the authority of the ancient versions, given to this 
verb the sense of cursing in the six following passages : 
1 Kings xxi. 10, 13; Job i. 5, 11, and ii. 5, 9. °As 
to the two first, the Seventy render Berek, in both, by 
eulogeo. and so the Vulg. by benedico, to bless. And 
though Jezebel was herself an abominable idolatress, 



52 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

VQt, as the law of Moses still continued in force, she 
seems to have been wicked enough to have destroyed 
Naboth upon the false accusation of blessing the 
heathen aleim and Moloch, which subjected him to 
death, by Deut. xiii. 6—12. and xvii. 2—7. Job's 
fear, ch. i. 5, was lest his sons should have blessed the 
false aleim; and verse 11, he says, ought to be ren- 
dered—' And indeed stretch forth thy' hand now, and 
touch all that he hath, surely he hath blessed thee to 
thv face,' i. e. hypocritically ; the verb being used in 
the past tense. The Seventy render it, truly he will 
bless thee to thy face. And the Vulgate— unless he 
hath blessed thee to thy face. Com p. verses 5, 7. 
And 1 Kings xx. 23. Satan brings the same charge 
of hypocrisy against Job, chap. ii. 5, which the Seven- 
ty, Theodotian, and Vulgate render in the same man- 
ner. And at verse 9, his wife says to him, "dost thou 
yet retain thy integrity, thy regard for the true God, 
blessing the aleim and dying, or even to death?" 
Thus far Parkhurst, whose remarks shed additional 
light on this account. They agree with the usage of 
the word, which is rendered to bless, in other texts ; 
they also accord with the charge of hypocrisy, which 
is brought against Job by his friends, throughout the 
book. ~But what deserves particular notice, these re- 
marks show, that Job lived among a people who had 
a false aleim or god, and a contrast, if not a contest 
between this god and Jehovah is set forth in the ac- 
count. The false god is spoken of as one, and not 
many ; and what god could this be but Ahraman ? For 
the Persians had only two, their good god and their evil 
god. That a contrast is set forth betwixt the false 
god and the true, is evident from Job's fear, ebap.i. 5, 
lest his children should have blessed the false aleim, or 
sod, instead of cursing the true God, as in the com- 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 53 

mon version. It is also plain from the speech of his 
wife, who, instead of desiring Job to curse the true 
God, expresses her surprise, that he should continue to 
bless him, though at the point of death in suffering 
from his hands. It is apparent, that she believed in 
Ahraman, and entertained the opinions concerning 
him as stated above, by Pr.ideaux. She was dis- 
pleased with her husband, for continuing to trust in 
the true God, at the gates of death, and even blessing 
him for his afflictions. In desiring him to renounce 
his confidence in the true God, did she mean that he 
should become an atheist, or live without any God? 
No ; she wished him to trust in Ahraman, the author 
of all evil, and the cause of all his afflictions. Job 
had despised him, and continued to trust in the true 
God to the last. She therefore wished him to aban- 
don this confidence, and trust in the evil god, the 
true author of his afflictions. By doing so, he would 
become his friend, remove his afflictions, or terminate 
them by death. 

3d. That this account of satan, is introduced to 
be condemned, appears from the reasonings of Job 
and his friends throughout the whole book. Job's 
friends, like himself, did not believe in Ahraman, for 
they maintain, that Jehovah, on account of his hypoc- 
risy and wickedness, had sent such afflictions upon him. 
But I ask, does any one of them ever intimate that 
satan, whether Persian eod or Christian devil, had pro- 
duced his afflictions ? No ; they are to a man agreed, 
that they were the doings of Jehovah, nor do they in- 
sinuate, that he used satan as a tool in producing them. 
As a specimen of their sentiments on this subject, let 
the reader consult chap. iv. 9, and v. 17, 18, and viii. 
3,4: Job defends himself against the charge of hypo- 
crisy and wickedness brought by his friends. See as 



54 AN INQ.UIRY PART I. 

examples, chap. vi. 4, 5, vii. 20, 2V, ix. 16—18, x. 
2, xvi, 11 — 15, and xix. 21. 

We may then appeal to every candid man, whether 
Job's friends would have been silent about satan pro- 
ducing his afflictions, if they believed so. And had 
they believed in satan, or Ahraman, the author of all 
evil, would they have ascribed his afflictions to Jeho- 
vah ? Besides ; had Job or his friends believed, that 
Jehovah used satan as an instrument in inflicting them, 
why is nothing said about it, either in their charge or 
his defence ? In repelling their accusations, would Job 
have failed to urge that his afflictions arose from satan's 
great enmity against him, had he but suspected that this 
was true. All know, that people are not very scrupu- 
lous now in blaming the devil. Nothing could have 
been easier, or more natural, than for Job to repel the 
charges against him by saying, that satan hated him, 
and had thus afflicted him. Can any man then be- 
lieve, that this account was introduced to establish the 
existence of such an evil being, yet this be contradicted 
by Job and his friends throughout the book ? If true, 
why not rather go on to confirm such a doctrine. Is it 
objected—" if false why introduce it all ?" I answer ; 
for the purpose of refuting such an opinion, and for es- 
tablishing the unity and supremacy of the true God. It 
is well known, that false gods are often introduced in 
Scripture, in contrast with the true, for the very purpose 
of exposing their absurdity. But 1 ask, is any false god 
ever allowed to be able to do good or evil ? No ; they 
are challenged to do either, to prove that they are gods. 
It is admitted by every intelligent man, that in the after 
parts of the Old Testament, and in the New, there are 
allusions to the evil principle deified, or the evil god oi 
the Persians. And to darkness as the symbol of this 
god. See a specimen of these, and how the sacred; 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 55 

writers expose such a doctrine, Isai. xlv. 5 — 7, 2 Cor. vi, 
15, x. 3 and xi. 13, 14, Eph. vi. 10. 

4th. Job's afflictions are referred to, James v. 11, 
and his patience under them, is set forth as an ex- 
ample to us, but are not ascribed to satan but to Je- 
hovah. Indeed, no sacred writers, these two chapters 
excepted, say or insinuate, that Ahraman or satan had 
any influence in producing them. But I have a right 
to demand, why no sacred writer has done this, if they 
believed as most people do now that satan was the au- 
thor of Job's afflictions? If they had the same view 
of those two chapters as most people now have, is it 
possible that they would have been silent on such a 
subject ? 

5th. However prone the Jews were to idolatry, and 
the superstitions of the nations around them, it was a 
truth obviously taught in the Scriptures, that their God 
was good, and that he had no evil being as a rival to 
him. So far from giving any countenance to an evil 
being called Ahraman, Satan, Devil, or by any other 
name, all witchcraft, necromarcy, or appeals to any 
other being or power stand condemned, and the Jews 
were solemnly charged to have no concern with them. 
Jehovah, and he alone, is declared to be the creator, 
preserver, and ruler of all things, and all beings in the 
universe. Life and death, sickness and health, pros- 
perity and adversity, are all ascribed to him. See Gen. 
i. 1 ; Dan. iv. 35 ; 1 Sam. ii. 6, 7 ; Isa. xlv. 7 ; Amos iii. 
6 ; Micah i. 12 ; Ps. xxxiii. 13 — 15 ; Prov. xvi. 4, 9 and 
xxi. 30. The idea of an evil being, which Christians call 
the devil and satan, and other nations by a variety of 
names, found no place in the Jewish Scriptures. That 
the Jews learnt such opinions from the heathen, we shall 
see in the next Section. In concluding our remarks 
on this account of satan in the book of Job, let us com- 



56 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

pare what is said in it, with the above quotation from 
Prideanx, and we shall see all that has been advanced 
stronsjv confirmed. 

Let us begin with the term satan. We have seen 
that this word signifies an adversary. That person or 
thing, is called a satan to another, which stands in his 
way, or in any shape opposes him. Thus, the angel 
of Jehovah, was a satan to Baalam, and the writing 
sent to Ahasuerus, was a satan to the Jews. Satan, in 
this account, is represented as opposed both to God 
and Job. He was their adversary or satan. Pndeaux, 
in the above quotation, informs us, that Ahraman the 
evil god, was opposed to the good God, and that this 
opposition would continue to the end of the world. He 
also informs us that the evil god was considered the 
author and director of all evil. This is precisely the 
representation here given of satan. All Job's afflic- 
tions are supposed to be the doings of satan. Ortho- 
dox people contend that this was the case, and that 
satan is their devil. They have then got a heathen 
crod, or the principle of evil deified, a mere nonentity 
for a devil. But is this very honorable to Christianity? 
And is it like persons, who reverence the word of God, 
flatly to contradict Job, in ascribing afflictions to satan 
which he ascribes to Jehovah ? Job contends, that the. 
good God was the author of his afflictions, as well as 
his prospeiity. Those who believed in the evil god, 
did not deny, but the good God was the author of his 
prosperity, but would not admit him to be the author 
of his adversity. Job maintained that Jehovah was the 
author of both, blessing his name when he took away, 
as well as when he gave. By this the excellency of 
his character was made manifest. 

But a^ain ; in the above quotation from Pndeaux, 
k is not alleged, that the good and evil gods always 



AN INQUIRY — PART I. 57 

produced good and evil by their own immediate agen- 
cy, but that these were brought about by the instru- 
mentality of second causes. Though Job ascribes his 
prosperity and adversity to Jehovah, yet he and all the 
scripture writers represent him, as accomplishing both 
by means. Looking at the first two chapters of Job, 
the agents by which Job's afflictions were produced, 
are distinctly mentioned. For example, the Sabean 

and Chaldean freebooters carried away his flocks. 

Were not they then a satan to Job, in the common 
scripture usage of this term ? And does not their very 
manner of life, exactly agree to what satan says, chap, 
i. 7 ? " And the Lord said unto satan, whence comest 
thou ?" Well, what answer does he make ? He says, 
" from going to and fro in the earth, and from walking 
up and down in it." Just such an answer as those 
freebooters would have given, for it was their mode of 
life to roam about committing such depredations. Yea, 
satan is the very name given to such persons in the 
East to this day. Messrs. Fisk and King, two of the 
Palestine missionaries, thus write: " For two hours, 
however, as we moved along our attendants were en- 
gaged in loud and violent disputes with these and other 
companies of Bedouins, who came up after they went 
away. They extorted a few dollars from the Arme- 
nians and Greeks, and at last took an ass from one of 
the Arabs. Our Shekh knew all these freebooters, and 
it is probably owing to his acquaintance with them, and 
his faithfulness to us, that they were so easily satisfied, 
and that we met with so little trouble from them. He 
says, most of the Bedouins are much worse than these, 
and yet he called these satans (shaitan)." See Chris- 
tian Spectator, vol. vii. p. 222. Such is the account 
given us by two orthodox missionaries. If the writer 
of the book of Job, did not include the Sabean and 



58 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

Chaldean freebooters in the term satan, all will allow, 
that the ancient and present usage of this word in the 
East fully warranted him. We see then, that there 
was no need for the assistance of a fallen angel, to pro- 
duce this part of Job's afflictions. The agent by which 
he lost his children, is as distinctly mentioned. We 
are told, chap. i. 18, 19. " That a great wind from the 
wilderness, smote the four corners of the house, and it 
fell upon them and killed them." Such was the cause, 
which produced this effect, nor do we perceive, that 
the aid of any evil being was required to accomplish 
it. We may just as well accuse satan of blowing down 
every house which is destroyed by a tornado. ^ Job's 
sheep were killed by lightning, and it and the wind are 
agents in the natural world by which God accomplishes 
his pleasure, over which Ahraman or the Christian's 
devil have no control. 

Again ; looking at this account, and comparing it 
with the quotation from Prideaux, we see why Job's 
boils are expressly ascribed to satan, without any other 
agent being concerned in their production. All evil 
indiscriminately, was ascribed to the evil god or satan, 
as all good was to the good god. But, as there was no 
visible agent to which the boils could be ascribed, no 
agent in°this case is mentioned. Satan, or the evil god, 
has to father this affliction himself, without the assis- 
tance of any agent. Hence it is said, satan smote Job 
with the boils, which is not said respecting his other 
afflictions, though the whole aspect of the account, is in 
agreement with considering him the author and director 
of all evil. I shall only add, that it has always ap- 
peared strange, that in this account, satan should be 
represented as conversing freely and familiarly with 
God. But if the account be as I have stated, the good 
and evil gods are here only represented as conversing 



AN INQUIRY— -PART I. 59 

together. Tt was in unison with the popular opinions 
concerning them. 

In concluding our remarks, let us briefly notice some 
points of similarity in the Magian creed, to those of 
Christian creeds in the present day. 

The Persians then had one good being or god, and 
also one evil being. Or, as Prideaux observes, "that 
is to say God and the devil." Christians in this are 
perfectly agreed with them, for they believe in one 
God, and also one devil. Again ; the Persians believed, 
that these two gods were the authors of all good and 
evil in the world. In this also Christians agree with 
them, for all good they ascribe to God, and impute all 
evil to satan or the devil. Further ; the Persians made 
darkness the symbol of their evil god. So do Chris- 
tians. When they speak of the devil he is described 
as black, dark, and hideous, and as loving darkness, 
dwelling in darkness, and keeping men in darkness, and 
will lead them at last into eternal darkness. Again ; 
the Persians believed that their good god was eternal. 
Some believed also, that their evil god was eternal.— 
About this, there was a difference of opinion. So all 
Christians believe their God to be eternal, but about 
the devil there is a difference of opinion. Though none 
of them believe him to have been from all eternity, yet 
some of them believe that he is to live forever, and 
shall remain eternally the same wicked being. Others 
of them think, that after a long period of punishment, 
he will be either struck out of existence, or be redeem- 
ed and made eternally happy. But again, the Per- 
sians believed, that there was a continual opposition 
between their good god and evil god, and that this 
should continue to the end of the world. Then, the 
good god shall overcome the evil god, and thence- 
forward each of them shall have his world to himself, 



60 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

that is, the good god his world with all good men with 
him, and the evil god his world with all evil men with 
him. Christians contend, that there is a continual op- 
position between their God and the devil, and that this 
opposition shall continue to the end of the world. Then, 
God is to overcome the devil, and from that time hence- 
forward, God is to have his world and all good men 
with him, and the devil is to have his world, and all 
wicked men with him. Such are a few of the leading 
points of similarity, between the ancient Magian faith 
and the faith of Christians in our day, respecting God, 
the devil, and future punishment. It is but proper and 
fair to notice 

2d. Some of the points of dissimilarity between them. 
The Magians believed, that their good and evil gods 
were only "two principles." These principles they 
not only personified, but deified and worshipped. When 
Xerxes prayed for evil on his enemies, " he addressed 
his prayer to Arimanins the evil god, and not to Or- 
rnasdes, their good god." Christians believe their God 
and the devil to be, not two principles, but two beings. 
Their devil is not only a being, but was once an an- 
gelic, being, but for his sin and rebellion was cast out 
of heaven? Christians do not worship their devil. But 
alas, too many who profess to be Christians, like Xerxes, 
when they wish evil on their enemies, pray to the devil. 
Christians have a great number of names for their devil. 
But it is apparent," that whether such a being is called 
Ahraman, Arimanius, satan, or devil, the leading fea- 
tures of his character among all nations are the same. 
The evil god has become the Christian's devil. In 
fact, they make their devil the worst being-, for though 
it was believed that their evil god, should at the end of 
the world have a world to himself with all wicked men, 
yet it does not appear, that they believed he was to he 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 6 J 

their eternal tormentor. But it is well known, that this 
is a pimp.] article in most orthodox creeds, and no 
man would be deemed orthodox, who denied it. I shall 
only add, that though the Persians and Christians a^ree 
in hat-ng Ahraman or the devil, yet the latter have not 
earned their hatred so far as to write the devil's name 
averted. In the next Section we shall see, that the 
Magian creed was much improved by Zoroaster, and 
that Christians have not only adopted his sentiments, 
but the very language in which he expressed them. 
Psalm xxxyin. 20, comes next to be considered.— 
I hey also that render evil for good are mine adver- 
saries Here the word satan occurs in the plural, and 
is rendered as usual adversaries. It is useless to make 
any remarks on this text, for its context clearly shows, 
that David I is not speaking of fallen angels but of men. 
in verse 1 9 he calls them his enemies, and speaks of 
them as lively, strong, and multiplied. 

Psalm lxxi. 13. « Let them be confounded and con- 
sumed, that are adversaries to mv soul." The word 
satan is also used here in the plural, and is again ren- 
dered adversaries. In verse 10, David calls these satans 
or adversaries his enemies, and the whole Psalm shows 
that he is not speaking of wicked spirits but of wicked 
men. 

• P f, alm u cix ' 4 ' :' For m y Io ™ they are my adversd, 
rtes. Here again the word satan occurs in the plural 
lorm, and is rendered adversaries. It is generally con- 
tended, that this psalm relates to Christ and his adver- 
saries, or satans. It is certain, that verse 8 is quoted 
Acts , and ,s applied to Judas. This term occurs in 
several other parts of the psalm which we shall briefly 
notice. In verse 6 it is said, -set thou a wicked man 
over him: and let satan stand at his nVhf hand."— 
Mere, the word satan is left untranslated^ \ s ren der- 
5 



52 AN INQUIRY — PART I. 

ed adversary in the margin. In the Jewish mode of 
parallelism, a wicked man in the first part of the verse, 
is the same as satan in the second. For an illustration 
of what is said about satan, or a wicked man standing 
at his right hand when he shall be judged in verse 7, 
see on Zach. iii. 1, 2, below. In verse 20, it is said— 
« let this be the reward of mine adversaries irom^tne 
Lord, and of them that speak evil against my soul."— 
The word satan is here again used in the plural, and 
rendered adversaries. It is rendered in the same way, 
verse 29. " Let mine adversaries be clothed with 
shame, and let them cover themselves with their own 
confusion, as with a mantle." On the whole of this 
psalm, and the use of the term satan in it, we would 
merely remark, that no person who reads it, can sup- 
pose that there is the least reference -to a fallen angel. 
It is evident, if the psalm refers to the Messiah, Judas 
and the persecuting Jews are designated by the term 
satan ; and shows us the propriety of the terms devil 
and satan being applied to them in the New Testa- 
ment, as we shall afterwards see. 

Zach. iii. 1,2, is the last place where the term satan 
occurs in the Old Testament. " And he showed me 
Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the 
Lord, and satan standing at his right hand to resist him 
And the Lord said unto satan, the Lord rebuke thee, 
O satan : even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem, 
rebuke thee ; is not this a brand plucked out of the fire." 
Here the word satan is again left untranslated, except 
in verse 1, where it is rendered " to resist Aim." In 
the margin, it is, to " be his adversary." In the 
Seventy'! version, the word satan is throughout this 
passage rendered diabolos. On the whole of it I re- 

1st. Let the word satan be only rendered adversa- 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 63 

ry throughout these verses, and the idea of a fallen 
angel vanishes. The reader can easily put this re- 
mark to the trial, by substituting the term adversary 
for satan, in reading the passage. From our habit of 
associating the idea of a fallen angel with the term 
satan, and not with the word adversary, this and some 
other texts are supposed to teach such a doctrine. But 
can this false association establish it ? 

2d. If it were necessary, it could be shown, what 
satan or adversary was meant. Let any one read 
Ezra, chaps, iii. and iv., and note particularlv what is 
said concerning Tatnai, and Shethar-boznai/in chap. 
v,and little doubt can remain, that they were the satan 
or adversary referred to. [t is allowed, that Zacha- 
nah prophesied about the time the events in the book 
of Ezra took place. Compare with this, what is said 
on Ezra iv. 6, above. If people will interpret this 
passage literally of a fallen angel, why not also inter- 
pret the following chapters, in the same book, literally. 
See chaps, i., ii., v., vi. 

3d. In this passage and in Psal. cix.6. above, Jahn 
thinks there is an allusion to the forms of judicial trials 
in ancient times. He thus writes : " The ceremonies 
which were observed in conducting a judicial trial 
were as follows:—!. The accuser and the accused 
both made their appearance before the judge or judges, 
Deut. xxv. 1, who sat with legs crossed upon the, floor' 
which was furnished for their accommodation, with 
carpet and 'cushions. A secretary was present, at 
least in more modern times, who wrote down the sen- 
tence, and indeed every thing in relatien to the trial ; 
for instance, the articles of agreement, that might be 
entered into, previous to the commencement of the 
judicial proceedings, Isa. x. \, 2. Jer. xxxii. 1—14, 
The Jews assert that there were tWQ secretaries^ the 



64 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

one being seated to the right of the judge who wrote 
the sentence of not guilty, the other to the lef^ho 
wrote the sentence of condemnation. Comp. Ma b. 
xxv. 33-46. That an apparitor or «w«^ 
sent, is apparent from other sources. 2. The accuser 
was denominated, in Hebrew, satan, or the ad.ersa 
rv Zach. iii. 1—3. Psalm cix. 6. The judge or 
judges were seated, but both of the P^ *|*^ 
'stood up, the accuser standing to the right hand of the 
accused".' The latter, at least, after the, captivity, 
when the cause was one of great consequence ap- 
peared, with hair dishevelled, and ih a garment of 

in ^h are all the texts in the Old Testament, where 
the term satan occurs. The reader can now judge 
for himself, if it is ever used by the writers as the nan* 
of a fallen angel, who ruined our first parents and all 
their posterity. 



SECTION IV. 

THE OPINION, THAT THE DEVIL OR SATAN IS A REAI> 
BEING, WITH OTHER CONNECTED OPINIONS, SHOWN 
TO HAVE THEIR ORIGIN IN HEATHENISM. 

It has been shown in the two preceding Sections, 
that the Old Testament gives no countenance to the 
common doctrine of a fallen angel, under the name 
serpent, satan, or any other. Indeed, we think it has 
been established, that the account of satan in the hrst 
two chapters of Job, was introduced for the express 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 65 

purpose of refuting such opinions. A very important 
inquiry arises, How came such opinions to'be imbibed 
by Christians, become so current in the world, and 
even seem to derive countenance from the New Tes- 
tament ? To account for these and other things shall 
be our business in the present Section. 

1st. In the early stages of the Jewish history, we 
read of witches and witchcraft. Injunctions are given 
against these, before we hear any thing about satan or 
the devil. But nothing is said to them about witch- 
craft, until they were about to enter Canaan. Many 
of the injunctions delivered to the Jewish nation, were 
for die purpose of fortifying them against such heathen 
notions, and preserving them in the fear and service of 
the one living and true God. See, concerning this 
Levit. xix. 26, 31 ; xx. 6, 27; Deut. xviii. 9—12- 
Exod. xxii. 18. Comp. Isai. xlvii. 12, 13; 1 Sam' 
chap, xxviii. The inhabitants of Canaan were given 
to idolatry and witchcraft, with similar superstitions. 
But such a being as Christians call the devil, was 
neither worshipped nor known among them. They 
had abundance of idols, but no devil or satan, nor are 
the Jews cautioned to beware of imbibing such an 
opinion. It is then a very great mistake, which many 
good people have made, in calling witchcraft the 
devil s art, and in thinking witches and wizzards were 
m league with him. Concerning this, Michaelis, on 
the laws of Moses, thus writes, vol. iv. paoe 89 : « We 
must, however, entertain very different sentiments on 
this point, in reference to the time of Moses. For in 
the Biblical writings prior to the Babylonish captivity 
we meet with very little notice of the devil, and it 
would seem that the effects which he could produce 
on the material world, were considered as but very 
trifling. The wizzards of those days rather ascribed 



66 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

the efficacy of their conjurations to other gods ; and 
therefore, in the Israelitish polity, witchcraft was com- 
monly accounted a species of idolatry, and, of course, 
most'severely punishahle. Hence orthodox theology, 
in the time of Moses, could look upon it in no other 
lieht than as an imposture : for no one could maintain, 
that it operated preternaturally, without admitting the 
exigence of other gods, and their power over the ma- 
terial world." The Jews before they entered Canaan 
knew nothing about the devil. Nor did its idolatrous 
inhabitants, for he was not known in that part ot the 
world. If then, as now, he walked about seeking 
whom he might devour, it is very unaccountable lie 
should not be familiarly known in Canaan, a and lull 
of idols, and witches, and all manner of wickedness. 
It seems all these could exist in those days without any 
devil to produce them. Nor is Moses, or rather God 
under any apprehension, that he would visit that 
country. We shall see that the Jews were obliged 
to *o to a foreign laud to find the devil. 

2d The Jews were carried to Babylon, and spent 
seventy years in captivity. Here, the Magian reli- 
gion, revived and improved by Zoroaster, prevailed 
and here we shall find that they became acquainted 
with the doctrine of the devil, and with oth er religions 
opinions not lound in their scriptures. To this point 
I shall now turn the attention of the reader, Frf- 
deaux, vol. i. pp. 219-240, gives us an account oi 
Zoroaster, his religion, and its success ; a lew brie! ex- 
tracts from which I shall only make. He says— In 
the time of his (Darius Hystaspes) reign first appeared 
in Persia the famous prophet of the Magians, whom 
the Persians call Zerdusht, or Zaratush, and the 
Greeks, Zoroaster, He was the greatest impostor 
except Mahomet, that ever appeared in the world, and 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 67 

had all the craft and enterprising holdness of that 
Arab, but much more knowledge ; for he was excel- 
lently skilled in all the learning of the East that was 
in liis time ; whereas the other could neither read nor 
write; and particularly he was thoroughly versed in 
the Jewish religion, and in all the sacred writings of 
the Old Testament that were then extant, which 
makes it most likely, that he was, as to his origin, a 
Jew. And it is generally said of him, that he had 
been_ a servant to one of the prophets of Israel, and 
that it was by this means that he came to be so well 
skilled in the Holy Scriptures, and all other Jewish 
knowledge ; which is a further proof that he was of 
that people; it not being likely that a prophet of Is- 
rael should entertain him as a servant, or instruct him 
as a disciple, if he were not of the same seed of Is- 
rael, as well as of the same religion with him ; and 
that especially since it was the usage of that people, 
by principle of religion, as well as by long received 
custom among them, to separate themselves from all 
other nations, as far as they were able. And it is 
farther to be taken notice of, that most of those who 
speak of his original, say, that he was of Palestine, 
within which country the land of Judea was. And 
all this put together, amounts with me to a convincing 
proof that he was first a Jew, and that by birth, as 
well as religion, before he took upon him to be pro- 
phet of the Magian sect. 

" He did not found a new religion, as his successor 
in imposture, Mahomet did. but only took upon him to 
revive and reform an old one, that of the Magians, 
which had been for many ages past the national 
religion of the Medes, as well as of the Persians : for 
it having fallen into disgrace on the death of those ring- 
leaders of that sect, who had usurped the sovereignty 



68 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

after the death of Gambyses, and the slaughter which 
was then made of all the chief men among 'them, it sunk 
so low, that it became almost extinct, and Sabianism 
every where prevailed against it, Darius and most of 
his followers on that occasion going over to it. But 
the affection which the people had for the religion of 
their forefathers, and which they had been all brought 
up in, not being easily to be rooted out, Zoroaster saw 
that the revival of tnis was the best game of imposture 
that he could then play ; and, having so good an old 
stock to graft upon, he did with the greater ease make 
all his new scions to grow which he inserted into it. 

" The chief reformation which he made in the Ma- 
rian religion was in the first principle of it : for where- 
as before they had held the being of two first causes, 
the first light, or the good god, who was the author of 
all "ood ; and the other darkness, or the evil god, who 
was°the author of all evil ; and that of the mixture of 
these two, as they were in a continual struggle with 
each other, all things were made; he introduced a prin- 
ciple superior to them both, one supreme God, who 
created both light and darkness, and out of these two, 
according to the alone pleasure of his own will made 
all thino-s else that are, according to what is said in the 
xlv. chapter of Isaiah, 5, 6, 7. " I am the Lord, and 
there i? none else : there is no God besides me ; I 
girded thee, though thou hast not known me, that they 
may know from the rising of the sun, and from the 
west, that there is none besides me. 1 am the Lord, 
and there is none else. I form the light and create 
darkness. I make peace and create evil, I the Lord do 
all these things*" For these words being directed to 
Cyrus, king of Persia, must be understood as spoken in 
reference to the Persian sect of the Magians, who then 
held light and darkness, or good and evil, to be the su- 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 69 

preme beings, without acknowledging the great <rod 
who is superior to both. And I doubt not it was from 
hence that Zoroaster had the hint of mending this o-reat 
absurdity in their theology. But to avoid makitjg°God 
the author of evil, his doctrine was, that God originally 
and directly created only light or good, and that" dark- 
ness or evil followed it by consequence, as the shadow 
doth the person ; that light or good had only a real pro- 
duction from God, and the other afterwards resulted 
from it, as the defect thereof. In sum, his doctrine as 
to this particular was, that there was one Supreme 
Being inoependent and self-existing from all eternity. 
That under him there were two angels, one the angel 
of light, who is the author and director of all good ; and 
the other the other the angel of darkness, who is the 
author and director of all evil ; and that these two, out 
of the mixture of light and darkness, made all things 
that are ; that they are in a perpetual struggle with 
each other; and that where the angel of light" prevails, 
there the most is good, and where the angel of dark- 
ness prevails, there the most is evil ; that this struggle 
shall continue to the end of the world ; that then there 
shall be a general resurrection, and a day of judgment, 
wherein just retribution shall be rendered to all accord- 
ing to their works ; after which the angel of darkness, 
and his disciples, shall go into a world of their own' 
where they shall suffer in everlasting darkness the pun- 
ishments of their evil deeds ; and the angel of light, 
and his disciples, shall also go into a world of their own' 
where they shall receive in everlasting light the reward 
due unto their good deeds ; and that aftenhis they shall 
remain separated forever, and light and darkness be no 
more mixed together to all eternity. And all this the 
remainder of that sect, which is now in Persia and India, 



70 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

do, without any variation, after so many ages, still hold 
even to this day." . , 

On these extracts, and other things stated in the 
pages referred to, 1 shall make a few general remarks. 
Zoroaster being a Jew, well acquainted with the Jew- 
ish scriptures, and skilled in ail the learning of the bast, 
was pre-eminently qualified for the game of imposture 
which he played. He did not invent a new religion, 
but only revived and improved the ancient Magian re- 
ligion. As Prideaux says—" He grafted all his new 
scions on this old stock and they grew." The Magian 
religion " had beeri for many ages past the ancient na- 
tional religion of the Medes as well as of the Persians. 
Zoroaster 7 s improved system soon became popular, na- 
tional, and generally universal in the East. 1 hough at 
first, it met with great opposition from the babians, yet 
he soon drew over to it Darius, whose example was 
soon followed by the "courtiers, nobility, and al the 
great men of the kingdom." The time in which he 
flourished, " was while Darius Hystaspes was king ol 
Persia " The sect flourished from his time, which, to 
"the death ofYazdejard, the last Persian king of the 
Magian religion, was about eleven hundred years. But 
after the Mahometans had overrun Persia, m the 
seventh century after Christ, the Archimagus was forced 
to remove from thence into Kerman, which is a province 
in Persia, lying upon the Southern Ocean, towards 
India, and there it hath continued even to this day. — 
But for these and other important statements 1 must 
generally refer to Prideaux's account. Make Brun 
says this sect exists in Africa, and that in Congo, < the 
good principle is named Zamba M'Poonga ; and the 
evil principle which is opposed to him Caddee 
M'Peemba." Geog. B. 68 pp. 274, 323. W° stor 
as Zoroaster was, he did not choose to make Uod the 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 71 

author of evil." To avoid this absurdity he held " that 
God originally and directly created only light or good, 
and that darkness or evil followed it by consequence, 
as the shadow doth the person : that light or good had 
only a real production from God, and the other after- 
wards resulted from it as the defect thereof." But, we 
shall notice some of the articles of Zoroaster's creed, 
more immediately connected with our present subject, 
and compare them with the articles found in Christian 
creeds of the present day. 

1st. Zoroaster taught, that under the supreme God 
J' there were two angels, one the angel of light, who 
is the author and director of all good, and the other 
the angel of darkness, who is the author and director 
of all evil." It is very evident that his " angel of 
darkness," answers to the devil of Christians, for they 
believe their devil to be the author and director of all 
evil. They believe he was its author at first in de- 
ceiving Eve, and has been its author and director ever 
since. Both moral and physical evil are ascribed to 
him. The resemblance between them, is not only 
evident as it respects the powers and qualifies both 
are said to possess, but the very name given to them. 
It is well known, Christians call their devil " the an- 
gel of darkness." Between Zoroaster's "angel of 
darkness," and the devil of Christians, I can perceive 
little or no difference. The Magians first deified the 
principle of evil, then Zoroaster changed this god into 
an angel of darkness, and Christians have adopted him 
for their devil ; and lest his origin should be lost in the 
lapse of ages, have called him by the same name. 
But the resemblance is further manifest, by consider- 
ing, that the angel of light and the antrel of darkness 
" are in a perpetual struggle with each other ; and that 
where the angel of light prevails, there the most is 



72 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

good, and where the angel of darkness prevails, there 
the most is evil ; and that this struggle shall continue 
to the end of the world." I ask all candid Christians 
if this is not what they believe concerning their devil 
Is it not their faith and their phraseology, that Ixod 
and the devil are in a perpetual struggle ? That this 
stru^o-le shall continue between them unto the end ot 
the world, and that God finally shall overcome the 
devil ? Who can deny all this ? And what Chris- 
tian man can have the face to deny that Christians 
have made a devil out of Zoroaster's angel ot dark- 
ness, for it was impossible he could make his angel ot 
darkness out of their devil. It is also apparent, Chris- 
tians believe, as Zoroaster has taught them, ' that 
where the angel of light or the good God prevai s, 
there the most is good, and where the angel ot dark- 
ness, or their devil prevails, there the most is evil. 
Prideaux considers it a great absurdity in the ancient 
Magian religion, that "light and darkness, or good 
and" evil, were the supreme beings, without acknow- 
ledging the great good God, who is superior to both. 
But is the. absurdity much less among Christians, in 
holdino- to one supreme God, and a devil, whom they 
make but little inferior to him ? It is true, they have 
not two gods in name, for they do not believe in the 
devil as a god. But what signifies a mere name, when 
in fact they ascribe to him all the characteristics of a 
God ; yea, the very same as the ancient. Magians as- 
cribed to their evil god, and Zoroaster to his angel ot 
darkness. Their devil struggles with the true God, 
and is in a continual struggle with him, and is not to 
crive it up until the end of the world. In all past 
ao-es they say that their devil has had the ascendancy 
in this struggle, for evil hitherto has most prevailed. 
See Mr. Emerson's treatise on the Milennium. 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 73 

I would suggest it for consideration, whether Zoro- 
aster's "angel of light," is not a corruption of the 
Scripture doctrine concerning the Messiah. He is 
called the angel of the Lord, and the angel of the 
covenant. Between him and the seed of the serpent 
there is a continual struggle, and this struggle is to con- 
tinue to the end of the world, when all things shall be 
subdued to him. But, though he was manifested to 
destroy the works of the devil ; yea, through death to 
destroy the devil, this devil was not a "fallen angel," 
or "an angel of darkness," or " an evil god," as° we 
shall see, Section vi. Paul, 2 Cor. xi. 14, seems to 
allude^ to this tenet of Zoroaster's creed, in saying, 
satan is transformed into " an angel of light." It is 
implied, that before this transformation he was " an 
angel of darkness," which are the very expressions used 
by Zoroaster. See, on this text, Section v. 

2d. Let us now consider, what Zoroaster says shall 
take place at the end of the world, and compare it with 
the creeds of most Christians. Fie says—" then there 
shall be a general resurrection." This article Zoroas- 
ter no doubt learned from his acquaintance with the 
Jewish Scriptures, for the resurrection from the dead, 
was the ultimate hope of believers in Christ, who was 
promised to the fathers. At this resurrection, he says 
there shall be " a day of judgment." This, Zoroaster 
could not learn from the Old Testament, for it does not 
teach such a doctrine, and when he made his creed, 
the New was not in existence. The phrase " day of 
judgment," used by him, is that now used by Christians, 
and in the same sense as he used it. In my answer to 
Mr. Sabine, I examined every text in which this phrase 
is found, and showed, that it is not once used in the 
Bible, in the sense which Zoroaster and Christians have 
attached to it. To it I beg leave to refer the reader^ 



74 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

who inclines to examine this subject. Christians must 
have borrowed the sense they attach to the phrase « day 
of judgment" from his creed, for he could not borrow it 
from theirs, as the chronology of the cases show. But 
let us hear Zoroaster, about what shall take place at 
the day of judgment? He says— "just retribution shall 
be rendered to all according to their works. It can- 
not be denied, that this is the very sentiment and lan- 
cruaoe of Christian creeds. But I ask, how Zoroaster 
coufd learn either this sentiment or its phraseology from 
the Old Testament ? If he did, intelligent and learned 
orthodox men have erred greatly, in admitting this doc- 
trine is not taught in the Old Testament. Jahn, in his 
Archaelocry, thus writes, p. 398. " We have not au- 
thority, therefore, decidedly to say, that any other mo- 
tives were held out to the ancient Hebrews to pursue 
the good and avoid the evil, than those which were 
derived from the rewards and punishments of tins hie. 
That these were the motives which were presented to 
their minds in order to influence them to pursue a right 
course of conduct, is expressly asserted, Isai. xxvi. 9, 
10, and may be learnt also from the imprecations, which 
are met with, in many parts of the Old Testament — 
The Mehestani, who were disciples of Zoioaster, be- 
lieved in the immortality of the soul, in rewards and 
punishments, after death, and in the resurrection ol the 
body ; at the time of which resurrection, all the bad 
would be purged by fire, and associated with the good. 
Zend. Avesta, P. 1. pp. 107, 1 08 ; P. II. pp. 211, 227, 
229; 124, 125; 173, 245,246 ; Gomp.Ezek.xxxvu. 

] 14." 

According to this writer, « the ancient Hebrews" 
were not taught the doctrine of future rewards and pun- 
ishments. But he honestly tells us that the " disciples 
of Zoroaster believed in the immortality of the soul, ro 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 75 

rewards and punishments after death." It is true, the 
Andover translator of Jahn's work, in the paragraph 
preceding, inserts the following words in correction of 
his author. [<< And although he (Solomon) no where 
in express terms holds up the doctrine of future re- 
wards and punishments, informs us in chap. xii. 14, of 
something very much like it, viz. ' That God shall 
bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, 
whether good or eviV "] Such is the proof adduced 
in opposition to Jahn, of future rewards and punish- 
ments. ^ Our readers can judge for themselves as to its 
conclusiveness. It leaves one serious difficulty unre- 
lieved. How came Zoroaster and his disciples to speak 
so explicitly ahout this doctrine, if it was not clearly 
revealed in the Old Testament ? No Christian can 
speak of it with more plainness than they did, if Pri- 
deaux and Jahn in the above quotations speak truth 
concerning them. Christians now, use their very lan- 
guage, in expressing their ideas on the subject. With 
pleasure we acknowledge our obligations 'to Mr. Up- 
ham, for his translation of Jahn's valuable work, and 
this obligation would have been much increased, had 
he referred us to the parts of the Old Testament from 
which Zoroaster could so clearly learn his doctrine 
concerning the immortality of the soul and future pun- 
ishment. Or, if he could not, account for this impos- 
tor's knowing so much more about it than the inspired 
writers. According to Jahn's account, Zoroaster dis- 
ciples did not believe in endless punishment. At "the 
resurrection, all the bad would be purged by fire, and 
associated with the good" was their belief, and this ac- 
cords with the opinions of some Christians in the pre- 
sent day. 

But, let us hear Zoroaster, about what is to succeed 
this day of judgment and retribution. He says — 



76 AN INQUIRY— PAKT I. 

"After which the angel of darkness, and his disciples, 
shall go into a world of their own, where they shall 
suffer in everlasting darkness the punishment of their 
evil deeds ; and the angel of light and his disciples, 
shall also go into a world of their own, where they snail 
receive in everlasting light the reward due unto their 
good deeds ; and that after this they shall remain sepa- 
rated forever; and light and darkness be no more mix- 
ed together to all eternity." We have seen that Zo- 
roaster's " angel of darkness," and " the devil" of Chris- 
tians, are the same both as to qualities and name.— 
Here the sameness is still more manifest, for what 
honest man can denv, that Christians have adopted his 
very sentiments and language. For example, Zoroas- 
ter's " an-el of darkness" had disciples. Well, Chris- 
tians say "their devil has disciples. His angel of dark- 
ness with his disciples, after the day of judgment shall 
go into a world of their own. So say Christians con- 
cerning their devil and his disciples. His angel oi 
darkness with his disciples, in this world of their own, 
"shall suffer in everlasting darkness the punishment ol 
their evil deeds." And do not Christians say the very 
same of their devil and his disciples ? Every orthodox 
man must believe that the devil with his disciples, or 
all wicked men, are to suffer in a world of their own 
" in everlasting darkness the punishment of their evil 
deeds," and that " the angel of light, and his disciples, 
shall also go into a world of their own, where they 
shall receive in everlasting light the reward due unto 
their good deeds: and that after this they shall remain 
separated forever, and light and darkness be no more 
mixed together to all eternity." What man would be 
deemed orthodox, who refused to believe these things? 
And why not allow, that Zoroaster, the greatest im- 
postor that ever arose, Mahomet excepted, was m these 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 77 

things as orthodox as they are. In these things he was 
orthodox long before them. There is only one of the 
above articles about which they differ from him in 
opinion. To the honor of our orthodox brethren be it 
spoken, they do not say, that the disciples of the angel 
of light receive future blessedness as a reward for good 
deeds done by them here. No, they say, it is not of 
works but of grace, lest any man should boast. It is 
true, the grace whereby they save men, is rather a pur- 
chased grace, than free grace, but on this I forbear re- 
marking. 

But it is added by Prideaux — " and all this the re- 
mainder of that sect which is now in Persia and India, 
do without any variation, after so many ages, still hold 
even to this day." If they hold all the above articles, 
"without any variation to this day," and if they are 
all true, as Dean Prideaux asserts, why be at so much 
trouble and expense to send them missionaries ? The 
chief articles in modern Christian creeds were propa- 
gated there many ages before the Christian religion 
existed. 

It deserves the serious consideration of the whole 
orthodox body, whether missionaries ought not to 
come from Persia and India here, to correct the inno- 
vations and additions made in the creed of the great 
Zoroaster. But I must leave this, and other reflec- 
tions arising from the above statements to be made 
by the reader. 

We have now noticed some of the principal arti- 
cles of Zoroaster's creed, and would ask Christians- 
Brethren, from what divine source did this arch impos- 
tor learn all these articles of his creed ? — 1st. Was it 
from the Old Testament scripture? This you will 
not affirm, for intelligent orthodox men allow it does 
not contain such articles. If it does contain thera, 
6 



78 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

you can find them there as well as Zoroaster, and we 
call on you to prove them from this book. 2d. Did 
Zoroaster learn such articles from the New Testa- 
ment? This was impossible, for it was not in exist- 
ence for more than six hundred years after the days of 
Zoroaster. 3d. Did Zoroaster learn them from God, 
when he pretended God spoke to him out of the midst 
of the fire? This cannot be affirmed unless you ad- 
mit him to be a true prophet of the Lord. But he is 
declared the greatest impostor which ever arose, Ma- 
homet excepted. 4th. Did Zoroaster invent these arti- 
cles of his creed ? No other alternative is left, but to 
admit this, or prove that he derived them from the Old 
Testament, or by special revelation from God. If he 
invented them, then he was the author of the princi- 
pal articles in modern creeds. 5th. Do you say, your 
articles, so similar to his creed, were neither derived 
from him, nor from the old Testament, but entirely 
from the New ? This will not do, for even allowing 
such articles to be clearly taught in the New Testa- 
ment, it is evident Jesus Christ and his apostles had 
not the honor of first revealing them to the world. 
Zoroaster, the arch impostor, had published them all 
over the East, six hundred years before Christ appear- 
ed. If such articles are found in the New Testament, 
Jesus Christ and his apostles were indebted to this 
impostor for inventing them. Should you say, Jesus 
Christ and his apostles derived these articles from God 
by immediate revelation, permit me to ask you, who 
revealed them to Zoroaster six hundred years before 
the Christian era? Did God reveal them to him? 
If he did, why not allow him to have been a true pro- 
phet of the Lord? And why not frankly own, that 
Jesus Christ and his apostles did not first reveal such 
articles of faith, but that God first revealed them 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 79 

through his great prophet Zoroaster? Perhaps you 
may say, such articles were communicated by inspira- 
tion to Christ and his apostles, and it is on their au- 
thority that you believe them. Beware, I beseech 
you, of taking this ground, for this is saying, Zoroas- 
ter, a notorious impostor, invented articles of faith, 
which, six hundred years after their invention, God 
sanctioned as divine revelation. Was God indebted 
to an impostor for suggesting to him a religious creed 
suited to the Christian dispensation ? For the honor 
of God, of Christ, and his apostles, yea, for the honor 
of Christianity, we hope you will not assert this. If 
Zoroaster learnt such articles of his creed from a di- 
vine source, it must have been from the Old Testa- 
ment. But few will be found who will assert that it 
contains them, for this ground is abandoned by ortho- 
dox intelligent men, and their defence is drawn from 
the New Testament. But if their defence can be 
made from the Old, we request the different articles 
be distinctly taken up and proved from it. Dan. xii. 
2, is the most plausible text which can be adduced, 
from which he could learn the doctrine of endless 
punishment. This passage will be fully considered in 
the Second Part, to which I refer the reader. As to 
satan being a fallen angel, who deceived Eve, tormen- 
ted Job, and has become the Christian's devil, we 
leave all to form their own opinion from the evidence 
which has been adduced. 

Let it now be remembered, that while the Jews 
dwelt in Canaan they knew nothing about the devil. 
If they did, it was merely by report, that the Per- 
sians and other nations believed in such a being. 
They had precepts, guarding them against witchcraft, 
idolatry, and all the abominations of the Canaanites, 
but not one guarding them against that almost infinite 



gO AN INQUIRY PART I. 

bein. whom Christians call the devil. How our or- 
thodox breibren account for this, I am unable to say. 
On mv views, it is easily and rationally accounted for. 
The devil was the principle of evil deified, transform- 
ed by Zoroaster into an angel of darkness, and the 
Jews must go to Babylon to get acquainted with him. 
That the Jews spent seventy years in captivity there 
is a fact disputed by no one. The question which 
then comes forward for consideration is— -Did the 
Jews imbibe, during their captivity, and did they 
Inns back from it any religious opinions which were 
not taught in their sacred books 1 Were any of those 
opinions derived from the creed of Zoroaster, and was 
that now entertained concerning the devil of this num- 
ber 1 To see how this matter stands, we solicit the 
reader's attention to the following particulars. 

1st. The Magian religion for many ages had been 
the « national religion of the Medes as well as of the 
Persians," as stated by Prideaux. About the time. the 
Jews were in captivity in Babylon, Zoroaster flourish- 
ed there, in reviving and improving it. Jahn, p. ^91, 
thus writes respecting the time when the Jews were 
carried there. " When at length admonitions ceased 
to be of any great avail, and every thing Avas growing 
worse and worse, the Israelitish commonwealth was 
overthrown, two hundred and fifty-three years after 
their separation from Judah, and seven hundred and 
twenty-two before Christ. The people were carried 
away by the Assyrians into Gozan, Chalacene, the 
cities of Media, and into Assyria. The kingdom of 
Judah was overthrown three hundred and eighty- 
seven years after the separation, five hundred and 
eitrhty-eiffht before Christ, by the Chaldeans, and the 
people were carried captive to the banks of the river 
Chebar, in Babylonia." Prideaux says, vol. i. p. 65, 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 81 

that the Jews were carried to Babylon in the fourth 
year of Jehoiakim, which, according to his chro- 
nology, was six hundred and six years before Christ. 
It was not for want of a fair opportunity, if the 
Jews did not imbibe opinions not found in their scrip- 
tures. 

2d. When they were carried to Babylon no particu- 
lar place was appointed for them, but they appear to 
have been dispersed throughout the provinces of that 
vast empire. It was not with the "Jews here, as with 
their forefather's in Egypt, a particular spot being as- 
signed them, where they lived all together, and could 
fortify each other against a departure from the religion 
of Jehovah. Their dispersed condition rendered them 
liable to forget their own religion, and insensibly im- 
bibe the opinions of those among whom they lived. 

3d. The very religion of Zoroaster had many things 
about it calculated to lead Jews to embrace it. It re- 
cognized the first principle of their own, the suprema- 
cy of one God ; was the religion of the king, his court, 
and of all the nobility. It was popular throughout the 
whole empire. These, and other things noticed hy 
Prideaux, which I forbear particularizing, all concur- 
red to make the religion of Zoroaster very fascinating 
to the Jews. For them to oppose it was only to ren- 
der themselves as odious there, as I am likely to be 
among orthodox people here, in opposing their doc- 
trine concerning the devil. Jahn, in his Archaeology, 
thus writes, pp. 393 — 4 : :i The similitude, which ex- 
isted between the system of Moses, and that of Zoro- 
aster, which prevailed in Persia and Media, may be 
summed up in a single article, viz., that they both dis- 
countenanced the worship of iilols. For, 1. That 
oritnnal bewinnino; of all things, called Hazaruam, was 
aeither the creator nor governor of the world, but the 



82 an inquiry — part i. 

endless succession of time, which was represented by 
Zoroaster, as the supreme existence, ens, or fountain 
of being. From H.azaruam, proceeded Ormuz and 
Ahrimanes. Ormuz acted the part of creator of the 
world ; a circumstance which caused no little envy in 
the mind of Ahrimanes, and induced him to mingle 
with the workmanship of Ormuz, the seeds or princi- 
ples of evil, which exist. By the Mehestani, more- 
over, or followers of Zoroaster, not only Onnuz, but 
six Amschaspandi, also innumerable spirits, dispersed 
every where, the sun, moon, stars, and other earthly 
existences, were worshipped without distinction, 2. 
If the example of the Medes and Persians, who wor- 
shipped Ormuz as the creator and governor of the 
world, confirmed the Hebrews in the worship of Jeho- 
vah, it was equally likely, on the other hand, to in- 
duce them to adore the stars, and spirits, which occu- 
pied so conspicuous a place in the system of those na- 
tions ; also the horses and chariots of the sun, which 
the ancestors of King Josiah, influenced by the ex- 
ample of the. Mehestani, had introduced at Jerusa- 
lem, and perhaps, to practise that species of Magian 
worship, witnessed by Ezekiel in the temple of Jeru- 
salem." 

4th. The Jews previous to the captivity, had been 
preparing themselves in the school of superstition and 
wickedness, for embracing such opinions at Babylon. 
Jahn says, p. 392. " During the period immediately 
preceding their overthrow, every kind of superstition, 
and every moral pollution prevailed in both kingdoms, 
especially in that of Judah. No other means there- 
fore remained to correct their vices, but that of ex- 
treme severity, by which their whole nation, dispersed 
from their country into distant regions, and humbled 
and afflicted, might learn that they could do no- 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 83 

thing without God, and that idols could lend them no 
assistance." 

5th. The long duration of their captivity, unavoid- 
ably led to the adoption of such opinions in religion. 
It was known by the Jews, that their captivity was to 
be for seventy years, and were desired to make their 
temporal arrangements accordingly. See the pro- 
phets' injunctions about this. But let us suppose, 
what is hardly supposable, that all the persons who 
went to Babylon over twenty years of age, were proof 
against imbibing any false opinion. Sutler me to ask, 
how were all under that age, and all born there to be 
preserved ? Without a constant miracle they could 
not, and no one affirms that a miracle was wrought to 
preserve them. It is then morally certain, that the 
Jews on their return, must bring back with them many 
of the religious opinions of the people among whom 
they had lived : unless we can prove, that they 
changed all their religious opinions, as easily as a man 
can shift his clothing. 

6th. Prideaux shows from the Old Testament Scrip- 
tures, that some of the Jews had gone over to the Ma- 
gian religion. He refers to Ezek. viii. 16, where the 
prophet, being carried in vision to Jerusalem, saw 
"about five and twenty men standing between the 
porch and the altar, with their backs towards the tem- 
ple of the Lord, and their faces towards the east ; and 
they worshipped the sun. The meaning of which is, 
that they had turned their backs upon the true worship 
of God, and had gone over to that of the Magians." 
Here then is direct proof of the fact from Scripture, 
that Zoroaster's religion was not only imbibed, but 
the worship it enjoined practised by the Jews. But 
as very little of the Old Testament was written after 
the captivity, we observe, 



84 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

7th. That learned men agree that the Jews brought 
back from their captivity religious opinions, not taught 
in their Scriptures. I shall only quote the following 
writers in proof. Michaelis, on the Laws of Moses, 
vol. ii. p. 348, thus writes: "In the New Testament, 
indeed, and in the Jewish language after the period of 
the Babylonish captivity, from which the Israelites re- 
turned much enriched in names for the devil, Bekal 
means the devil. But in the Old Testament it never 
has this meaning." Again ; L'.Enfant, in his Intro- 
duction to the Reading of the Scriptures, p. 14, thus 
writes : " But this much is certain, that from that time 
(of Alexander the Great) the Jews began to Helenize ; 
that the Greek tongue, spoken by the Macedonians, 
became more common among them, and that they 
also introduced some of the opinions of the Greek 
philosophers, as the transmigration of souls, for in- 
stance. We find some steps of this notion even in 
the New Testament, as in Luke xvi. 23, where there 
is an account of the abode of departed souls, con- 
formable to the Grecian philosophy, and in John ix. 2 
where we find an allusion to the pre-existence and 
transmigration of souls. It is, moreover, evident 
from the Apochryphal writings, from Philo, Jose- 
phus, and the Talmudists, that the Jews, especially 
the Pharisees, had learned and followed the Grecian 
philosophy ever since their conversing with the Greeks 
under Alexander the Great, the Ptolemies, and Seleu- 
cidee, his successors, who reigned in Egypt and Syna : . : 
Those who wish to see more authority in proof of this 
point may consult Dr. Campbell's Sixth Dissertation, 
part i. sect. 19, quoted in my First Inquiry, chap. i. 
sect. 3, See also Jahn's Archae., pp. 235, 396. The 
Jews then had two sources from which they derived 
opinions 'in religion not taught in their Scriptures; 



AN INQUIRE PART I. 85 

the opinions of Zoroaster, and those of the Greek 
philosophers. 

8th. What conclusively proves that the Jews 
brought back from their captivity many opinions not 
learned from their sacred books, are the Apocryphal 
writings. The books called Apocrypha, though not 
canonical, are allowed to be the best writings extant, 
relative to the Jews after the captivity. To these I 
shall now call the attention of the reader, collecting 
from them, what were the religious opinions of the 
Jews in the times to which they relate. Let us con- 
sider 

1st. What were their opinions respecting evil beings 
or spirits 1 We shall begin with [heir use of the term 
satan. It occurs only in Eccles. xxi. 27. Ir is doubt- 
ful what idea the writer attached to this word. The 
word diabolos occurs frequently in the original, but is 
rendered slanderer, accusation, he. in the English ver- 
sion. See Eccles. xix. 15, xxvi. 5, xxviii. 9, xxxviii. 
19, and li. 2, 1 Mac. i. 36, 2 Mac. xiv. 27. The only 
place where it is rendered devil, and which has a con- 
nexion with our present subjeot, is Wisdom of Solo- 
mon, ii. 24. "Nevertheless,* through envy of the devil 
came death into the world ; and they that do hold of 
his side do find it." The allusion here is to Genesis 
in. and from this passage Christians have probably de- 
rived the idea that it was the devil that deceived Eve. 
Tf they can show a better source for this opinion, we 
hope it will be done. Paul says, death entered by sin, 
Rom. v. 12, and it was shown, Sec. ii, that no Old 
Testament writer intimates that death entered by the 
devil. Where then did the Apocryphal writers get this 
opinion ? It must have been from the heathen, and it 
is evident this idea agrees to Zoroaster's angel of dark- 
ness, who was the author and director of alfevfl, death 



86 AN INQUIRY PARTI. 

not excepted. In the Apocrypha evil spirits are fre- 
quently mentioned. What child has not been amused 
with the account of « Asmodeus, the evil spirit killing 
Sara's seven husbands? Also, of Raphael curing lo- 
bit's eyes, and binding Asmodeus. And of the won- 
derful efficacy of the heart, liver and gall of a hsh, 
which leaped out of the Tigris, the smoke of which 
smelled by the evil spirit, he fled into the utmost parts 
of E<rypt, where the angel bound him. See lobit, 
chaps iii. vi. viii. xi. In Baruch iv. 7, 35, we read of 
devils, but the original word is not diabolos but dimno- 
nion. But as it is admitted on all bands, that demons, 
and the being Christians call the devil, are very ditter- 
ent, it requires no attention from me in the present in- 
vestigation. 1 would only remark in passing, that peo- 
ple's'notions about satan, the devil, evil spirits, witches 
and Gizzards, must be from a heathen source, for none 
of them are admitted to be real beings in the O d les- 
tament. On the contrary they are there condemned 
as superstitions, and the Jews commanded to give no 
heed to them. Where then could the Jews learn such 
opinions but from their intercourse with the heathen f 
If the Jews imbibed the idea of witches in Canaan, and 
that of the devil and evil spirits at Babylon, and such 
beings are mentioned in the Apocrypha, are these sum- 
cient' reasons for our believing their existence ? And is 
it possible that such beings can be recognized as real 
in the New Testament ? 

&d What are the opinions taught in the Apocrypha 
about Belli The Greek word Hades, rendered hell, 
occurs, Eccles.xxi. 10, and li. 5, 6. Songof the three 
children, verse 66. Tobit xiii. 2, 2 Esd. iv. 8, vin. 
53 and ii. 29. It is the same word which is frequent- 
ly rendered hell in the New Testament, and is synony- 
mous with Sheol, also rendered hell in the Old. Ine 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 87 

word Gehenna, also rendered bell in the New Testa- 
ment, does not occur in any of the books of the Apoc- 
rypha. By hell, in all the above texts, is meant the 
same as Sheol, the grave, or state of the dead. The 
idea of a place of endless punishment, does not appear 
to be meant in any one of them. Indeed such a place 
of punishment could not be learned by the Jews, either 
from the ancipnt Magian religion or" from Zoroaster's 
improvements of it, for not a word is said about hell in 
either. [ have shown, in my first Inquiry, that Hades 
or hel! as a place of future punishment was learned by 
the Jews from their intercourse with the Greeks. See 
chap. i. sec. 3. 

3d. What were the opinions of the Apocrvphal wri- 
ters, concerning the vumber that should be saved!— 
Their opinion was, that all men "shall not be saved." 
See 2 Esdras viii. 38—4 2. On the contrary, the Most 
High " made this world for many, but the world to 
come for few. See 2 Esd. viii. I. And in verse 3 it 
is said— "there be many created, but few shall be sa- 
ved." And chap. ix. i5, "there be many more of 
them which perish, than of them which shall be saved." 
No sentiment., like this is to be found in the Magian 
creed, or in its improvements by Zoroaster, so far as 
my knowledge of them extends. Where the Apocry- 
phal writers learned it I am unable to say with cer- 
tainty ; but Whitby on Rom. ii. shows that the Jews 
in our Lord's day, believed that none but Jews were to 
be saved, and they were all to be saved. They be- 
lieved that all the Gentiles were fuel for hell fire. My 
opinion is, that this idea originated among the Jews, 
from their hatred of the Gentiles, and the high opinion 
which they entertained of themselves as the seed of 
Abraham. See Matih. ch. iii. No one we think will 
contend, that they learned such an opinion from their 



88 AN INQUIRY PART 1. 

Scriptures. Christians in time past, have not only be- 
lieved that few will be saved, but they express them- 
selves pretty much in the language of the Apocryphal 
writers on the subject. Of late, Dr. Woods, Mr. Em- 
erson, and some other orthodox writers aver, that the 
greater part of the human race will be saved. I he 
number,' who shall suffer eternal punishment, will not 
be more in proportion to the whole human race, than 
those who sufler capital punishment in any country, are 
to that of the whole community. We ought not to de- 
spise the day of small things. But this is a great thing, 
for not long a*o, it was the orthodox faith, that com- 
paratively few of the human race would be saved. _ 
4th. What were the opinions of the Apocryphal wri- 
ters concerning immediate punishment after death?-— 
That they believed the wicked were punished after 
death is evident from 2 Esdras, vii. 47. And that it 
commenced immediately after death seems also evident 
from verse 56, and ix. 12. Compare also Eceles. xym. 
22—25. This is precisely the doctrine of immediate 
punishment after death taught in our day. But I would 
ask, from what source did the Apocryphal writers learn 
this doctrine? Not from the Old Testament, for it is 
now conceded by intelligent orthodox men, that the 
Old Testament does not teach it. It was impossible 
they could learn it from the New, for when they wrote, 
it was not in existence. Not from Zoroaster, for l_do 
not find that his creed contained the doctrine of im- 
mediate punishment after death. Where could the 
Jews then learn such a doctrine ? I answer from the 
Greeks, from whom also they learned that Hades or 
Hell was the place where this punishment was to be 
suffered. See first Inquiry, chap. i, sect. 3. 1 he Ulcl 
Testament writers, so far from teaching the doctrine ot 
immediate punishment after death, describe this state, 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 89 

as a state of darkness, silence, insensibility, and that 
there the very best of men cannot praise God or give 
him thanks. Nor is a single individual ever represented 
as in pain or misery in this state. But the Greeks be- 
lieved in immediate happiness as well as misery after 
death, and the Apocryphal writers believed both. See 
teles, i. 13, 2 Esdras, xiv. 34, and vii. 28, 35, 2 
Mac. vii. 14, Wisdom of Sol. chap. ii. See Jahn's 
Arch. p. 398, quoted above. 

5th. What were the opinions entertained by the wri- 
ters of the Apocrypha concerning "the day of judo- 
*ent r The phrase, "the day of. judgment/' onty 
occurs once in the Old Testament, Prov. vi. 34, where 
po one ever supposed it referred to a day of general 
judgment at the end of this world. But in this sense, 
the phrase, "the day of judgment," is used by Zoroas- 
ter in his creed. And in this sense also it is used by 
the Apocryphal writers ; 2 Esdras, xii. 34 ; Esther, i. 
1 1 • That they meant a day of judgment after the re- 
surrection of the dead seems evident from the following 
passages. The torment of the wicked at this period 
they believed to be » fire and worms in their flesh ; and 
they shall feel them, and weep forever." See Judith 
xv, 17,^ Eccles. vii. 17, Comp. 2 Esdras, ii. 34, and 
vi. 9, 25. Suffer me now to ask, where could the wri- 
ters of the Apocrypha learn the doctrine of « the day 
of judgment" but from the creed of Zoroaster, for this 
is both the sentiment and the very phraseology which 
he uses as has been seen above from Prideaux. It can- 
not be questioned, that the phrase "the day of judg- 
ment" does not once occur in the Old Testament fn 
this sense. If it is denied, that they learned this sen- 
timent from the creed of Zoroaster, show us from what 
Divine source they could learn it? As Christians could 
not learn either this sentiment or the language in which 



g AN INQUIRY— PART I. 

it L exnressed from the Old Testament, we ask how 

VtheTbv such sentiments and language, unless 

EX d % t Tom Zoroaster's creed or at second 
they denvea u ^ angwer lQ saJj 

T ff/chri^tnt'SSp- »«* the phrase « the day 
SS'li Christians have borrowed the Ian- 
ot judgment, aim er 

gua^e and sentiment from them. «°>>« 1H /* g 

fin for first, we have shown in our answer to Mr. ba 

r pL that Jesus Christ and his apostles adopted the 
Sen. ^language of the Apocry pha .writers or 
! ob ,11 the truth, that both were indebted to the 
to speak all ^ e '" e r for inventing both the senti- 
SfflStt- some hundred years he- 
fo e Ye th °aU of them were indebted to the an- 
£ ereed'of the ^a^^^e^e 

Sr^ tfb th^Tn, who contend for this 

o e c Trine L olsider its origin ; for to build the, a, > on 

the New Testament as its source is worse than ne 

creed, was transmitted by the great intposoZoroas.e 
and the Apocryphal wrUers to Jesus Ch,.ndh ls 

i ^ r,-r,,n thpm to all Christians ever since . 

al '° 6 t W . theo^nions taught by the Apoor* 

L*f Their opinion about thts was , .tal - should 

^ be v™e k S ! of thl in the day of judgment^ in 
puuing 6°e and worms in their flesh , and they shall 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 91 

feel them and weep forever." Bad as the ancient Ma- 
gmn religion was, it does not appear to have taught the 
endless duration of punishment. And, if Jahn is to be 
believed, as quoted above, Zoroaster's disciples ta Ufi ht 
that the w.cked were to be purified by fire at the day 
of judgment, and made happy with the good. It is 
certain the ancient Greeks believed in endless punish- 
merit and from this source, or the creed of Zoroaster, 
the Apocryphal writers must have derived it. They 
could not learn such a doctrine from the Old Testa- 
ment scriptures, for it is not taught there. Many con- 
tend that it is taught in the New Testament. Allow- 
ing >t is, I ask how the writers of the Apocrypha came 
I to believe it and teach it long before the New Testa- 
ment was written ? Did the New Testament writers 
adopt a doctrine, taught by Apocryphal writers,Avhich 
ney derived from the heathen ? This to be sure would 
be doing great honor to them, but what comes of the 
honor, or credit of Christ and his apostles if this was 
admitted ? 

Such are the religious opinions found in the Apoc- 
rypha, all closely connected with our present inquiry 
We would candidly ask our orthodox brethren, how 
those writers came to speak so clearly and explicitly 
on these topics, long before the New Testament was 

r^'? ^t $ rl heh ' informati °n could not be derived 
lrom the Old Testament, where did they obtain it. ?_ . 
Did Daniel reveal it to the Jews while they were in 
Babylon ? If he did, why was it mixed up with such 
ables as are found in the Apocrypha, and transmitted 
to _ posterity by Apocryphal writers? And, if such 
opinions be true, why did the New Testament writers 
not avail themselves of such explicit information, and 
teach them to the world ? No man, we think, will 
affirm that such opinions are taught so explicitly in the 



92 AW INQUIRY — PART I. 

New Testament as they are in the Apocrypha. And 
Christians cannot well deny, that the sentiments and 
even the language of their creeds bear a gre ater *n* 

blance to what is found in the Apocrypha, than anj 
thin* taught either in the Old or New Testament.- 
ManV doubt the truth of such articles. But could any 
manUe disputed their truth, had the Apocrypha been 
a part of divine revelation ? _ ■; ^\vL 

7th. What were the religious opinions among tne 
Jews not found in Scripture,* during the days of Christ 
lad his apostles ? The New Testament ns.lf affords 
evidence that opinions prevailed not found in their 
Sen umes. For' example our Lord told t he ^s in 
general terms, that they had made Gods law void 
through their traditions. See some of these opinions 
noticed in the quotations from L'Enfant, Jahn and 
Xrs above. Other opinions we shall haj, evasion 
to notice in succeeding Sections. See aUo Whitby 
on Romans ii, referred to above. The opinions of 
Josephus concerning a state of future rewards and 
punishments are well known, and need not be quoted 
Those who wish to see a pretty full account of the 
opin ons of the Sadducees, Pharisees, and other sects 
a £ong the Jews, may consult Prideaux, vol m. pp. 
W—389 See also Jahn's Arch. pp. 402— 4U4, 
4U winch my limits forbid quoting. Nor * it neces- 
tryjor it would only be to repeat opimons already 

^SdfThe history of the Christian church shows 
that many heathen' opinions were incorporated w h 
Christianity, and increased from bad to worse, until 
w ha was called Christianity, became worse than hea- 
rhenism itself. The first converts were Jews, and 
m „ t m „ltitudes of converts were also made irom 
I'mong theStiles. Such continued «o ** many 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 93 

of their former false opinions. When Christianity be- 
came the religion of the Roman empire, men, former- 
ly heathen priests and philosophers, became teachers 
m the Christian church, so that it soon became popu- 
lar, but greatly corrupted. Those who wish to see 
this gradual corruption traced and exposed, may con- 
sult Dr. Campbell's Ecclesiastical History, Mosheim's 
Church History, Milner's, and others. The fact is no- 
torious, and universally admitted, and my limits forbid 
a more particular statement. ^We shall conclude this 
section by noticing the following facts. 

1st. The whole ecclesiastical hierarchy, which has 
so long been the Diana of the religious world, was the 
invention of Zoroaster. Prideaux, vol. i. p. 230, thus 
writes: "And whether it were, that these Magians 
thought it would bring the greater credit to them, o°r the 
kings, that it would add a greater sacredness to their 
persons, or whether it were Irom both these causes, the 
royal family among the Persians, as long as this sect 
prevailed among them, was always reckoned of the 
sacerdotal tribe. They were divided into three or- 
ders. The lowest were the inferior clergy, who 
served in all the common offices of their divine wor- 
ship : next above them were the superintendents, who 
in their several districts governed the inferior clergy, 
as the bishops do with us ; and above all was the 
Archimagus, or arch-priest, who, in the same manner 
as the high priest among the Jews, or the Pope now 
among the Romanists, was the head of the whole re- 
ligion. And, according to the number of their orders, 
the churches or tempies in which they officiated were 
also of three sorts. The lowest sort were the paro- 
chial churches, or oratories, which were served by the 
inferior clergy, asthe parochial churches are now with 
us ; and the duties which they there performed were 
7 



94 AN INQUIRY PART I, 

to read the daily offices out of their liturgy, and at 
stated and solemn times, to read some part of their 
sacred writings to the people. In these churches 
there were no fire altars ; but the sacred fire, before 
which they here worshipped, was maintained only in 
a lamp. Next above these were their fire temples, in 
which fire was continually kept burning on a sacred 
altar. And these were, in the same manner as cathe- 
drals with us, the churches or temples where the 
superintendents resided. In every one of these were 
also several of the inferior clergy entertained, who, in 
the same manner as the choral vicars among us, per- 
formed all the divine offices under the superintendent, 
and also took care of the sacred fire, which they con- 
stantly watched day and night, by four and four, in 
their turns, that it might always be kept burning, and 
never go out. The highest church above all was the 
fire temple, where the Archimagus resided, which was 
had in the same veneratiun with them as the temple of 
Mecca among the Mahometans, to which every one of 
that sect thought themselves obliged to make a pil- 
grimage once in their lives. Zoroaster first settled it 
at Batch, and there he, as their Archimagus, usually 
had his residence. But after the Mahometans had 
, overrun Persia, in the seventh century after Christ, the 
Archimagus was forced to remove from thence into 
Kerman, which is a province in Persia, lying upon the 
Southern ocean, towards India, and there it hath con- 
tinued even to this day. And to the fire temple there 
erected, at the place of his residency, do they now 
pay the same veneration as formerly they did to that 
of Balch. This temple of the Archimagus, as also 
the other fire temples, were endued with large reve- 
nues in lands : but the parochial clergy depended sole- 
ly on the tithes and offerings of the people ; for this 



AN INQUIRY PART I. . 95 

usage also had Zoroaster taken from the Jewish 
church, and made it one of the establishments amon^ 
his Magians." 

Let it be remembered, that Dean Prideaux was a 
prophet of their own, which forbids the slightest sur- 
mise that this account is either misrepresented or ex- 
aggerated. But, while eating the fat, and clothing 
himself with the wool, arising "from such an establish- 
ment, he frankly confesses that it was invented by 

Zoroaster, concerning whom he says, p. 220 " He 

was the greatest impostor, except Mahomet, that ever 
appeared in the world, and had all the craft and enter- 
prising boldness of that Arab." A very good origin 
indeed for— : < Mystery Babylon the great, the mother 
of harlots and abominations of the earth." It was 
surely proper, that the greatest imposition ever palmed 
on the world, should be the invention of one of the 
greatest impostors the world ever produced. As it 
was invented at Babylon, published at Babylon, and 

imported from Babylon, it is very properly called 

"Mystery Babylon" the great." After such a dis- 
closure by one of the craftsmen, that man must be 
dead drunk with the wine of her fornications, who 
still continues to cry—" great is Diana of the Ephe- 
sians." 

2d. Another fact is, that all sects and parties in re- 
ligion, are silent about the religion of Zoroaster. The 
Ecclesiastical hierarchy has met with both assault and 
insult from almost every sect. But in the course of 
our reading we have never met with any one of them 
who ventured to expose it as an invention of Zoroas- 
ter. Many a prayer has been made for the downfall 
of Mahomet and the destruction of Paganism: but 
who ever heard a prayer made for the destruction of 
Magianism or the religion of Zoroaster ? But why 



96 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

not? Is it not because the creeds of the different 
sects and that of Zoroaster are very similar? * rom 
his Lord God the Pope, down to the lowest dissenter, 
all 6rmly hold some articles invented by Zoroaster. 
It would not do for any of the sects to insult the cler- 
gy by telling them that Zoroaster was the inventor ot 
Their ecclesiastical establishment. No, they could re- 
tort upon them, for if this was any argument against 
it they must admit it was of equal force against such 
articles of their own creeds, as Zoroaster was the in- 
ventor of both. If they attacked the hierarchy with 
such a weapon as this they wounded themselves, and 
if the building fell by such an assault, their own 
creeds must be demolished with it. The base born 
origin of the Mother of Harlots must be concealed 
for* every grade of relationship, however distant must 
share in the disgrace. Dean Prideaux loved the ,n- 
ventions of Zoroaster, but called him the greatest im- 
postor that ever arose, Mahomet excepted, But in- 
stead of this kind of abuse, the religious world ought 
to erect a monument to his memory, for to h.m, more 
than to Jesus Christ, have they been indebted for 
much that has been counted great, glorious, and good 



in religion 



in religion. i . i 

3d It has been noticed by many as a remarkaole 
fact, that before the captivity the Jews were prone to 
idolatry, but after their return and ever since, have held 
it in -reat abhorrence. Is not this great change in the 
Jews? partly, at least, accounted for by their imbibing 
Zoroaster's opinions, which were opposed to the wor- 
ship of idols? But this I merely suggest for con- 
sideration, and leave the reader to his own reflections 
on the topics which have been discussed in the present 



Section. 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 97 



SECTION V. 



ALL THE PASSAGES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, WHERE 
THE TERiM SATAN OCCURS, CONSIDERED. 

The term Satan among Christians, is as much a 
proper name for a fallen angel, as Peter and Paul are 
for two of Christ's apostles. In correction of this mis- 
take, Dr. Campbell says, Dissert. 6, " Satan, though 
conceived by us as a proper name, was an appellative 
in the language spoken by our Lord ; for, from the 
Hebrew it passed into the Syriac, and signified no 
more than adversary or opponent. It is naturally just 
as applicable to human as to spiritual agents, and is, 
in the Old Testament, often so applied." The truth 
of this statement we have seen, Sect. iii. 

It has been alleged that the New Testament speaks 
more frequently and explicitly about the devil and sa- 
tan than the Old. Let us see how this matter stands. 
The term satan occurs thirty-four times in the Old 
Testament, and is fifteen times rendered adversary, or 
by some similar word. But though it occurs thirty- 
five times in the New Testament, it is not rendered by 
any word. It is easily perceived, then, that this cir- 
cumstance gives to the New Testament the appear- 
ance of teaching the existence of such a being, which 
the Old has not. But every man must see, that it is 
a very false appearance, and is very much increased 
from the very frequent occurrence of the term 
devil, and the plural devils, to which, like the 
term satan, people have attached the idea of a fall- 
en angel But it is well known, that the words 



98 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

daimon and daimonion, have no reference to that being 
Christians call the devil, but to demons or dead men 
deified, as we shall see in the sequel. The word 
diabolos, occurs in the New Testament thirty-** 
times. Excluding all the other places where the 
words devil and devils are the rendering of daimon 
and daimonion, all must see what an alteration it 
makes on the face of the New Testament. Even in 
our English version the term diabolos is sometimes 
rendered slanderer and .false accuser, as the word sig- 
nifies. Dr. Campbell, where Judas is called a devil, 
renders it spy, and diabolos is rendered in a similar 
manner bv other translators. Supposing then, that the 
words shaitan and diabolos, had been rendered adver- 
sary and slanderer, or by similar words, it would have 
been difficult to find a fallen angel under those names 
in the Bible. In the Old Testament the term satan 
unifies an adversary, and is applied to the angel of 
Jehovah, the evil passions of men, a piece of writing, 
the evil principle deified, fee. The term satan is used 
in a similar way in the New Testament, which we 
shall now proceed to show. 

Matth. xvi. 23. " But he turned and said unto Pe- 
ter, get thee behind me satan : thou art an offence 
unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of 
God, but those that be of men." See also the parallel 
text in Mark viii. 33, which I need not transcribe. 
Here our Lord does not say that Peter was possessed 
of satan, that he acted like him, or that he was influ- 
enced by him, but positively calls one of his own dis- 
ciples satan. But was Peter a fallen angel or wicked 
spirit 1 The expression <f get thee behind me satan, 
is the same that our Lord used, Luke iv. 8, when he 
was tempted of the devil and satan. There is no- 
thing at all remarkable in calling Peter satan, as Da- 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 99 

vid and the angel of the. Lord were called so in the 
Old Testament. " Get thee behind me adversary," 
was highly proper language, for Peter was our Lord's 
adversary, not from design, but from ignorance and 
mistaken views, as is evident from the context, and 
also from the reason assigned ; " For thou savorest not 
the things which be of God, but those which be of 
men." The Old and New Testament writers, there- 
fore, perfectly harmonise in the sense attached to this 
word. 

Luke xxii. 31,32. " And the Lord said Simon, 
Simon, behold, satan hath desired to have you that he 
may sift you as wheat." Peter in the last text, was 
a satan or adversary, and now our Lord told him sa- 
tan desired to sift him as wheat. But where in the 
history of Peter, do we find that an evil being ever at- 
tempted to injure him ? But if we consult verses 32 
— 35, and verses 54 — 63, of this chapter, we see that 
Peter was three times sifted like wheat, by being three 
times charged with being one of our Lord's disciples, 
and he as often denying him. Peter's faith seemed to 
fail him for a season, but our Lord prayed for him that 
it might not entirely fail. In Psalm cix, and other 
places noticed in Section iii, we have seen that the 
unbelieving Jews are called a satan or adversary to 
our Lord. Here they showed themselves so by sifting 
Peter as wheat, for their opposition was chiefly against 
the Saviour. To assert that a fallen angel influenced 
the Jews, has no evidence to support it from text or 
context. Indeed, only render the term satan adver- 
sary, and no one would think of a fallen angel as con- 
cerned in this affair. Our Lord only says, " behold, 
the adversary hath desired you that he may sift you 
as wheat." 

Mark iii. 23. "And he called them unto him, and 



100 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

said unto them in parables, how can satan cast out sa- 
tan " See the whole context. The following re- 
marks from Jahn are sufficient on ^is passage. He 
says p 226—" Jesus, in Matt. xu. 24—30, Mark 
iii. 22— 30, Luke xi. 16—24, employs against the 
Pharisees this argumentum ad hominem, which has 
no bearing in this case any further than the refutation 
of the adversary is concerned. The grounu ol his 
employing this species of argument in the present in- 
stance wis this. The Pharisees, if we may believe 
Josephus, taught that the demons, by which men were 
possessed, were the spirits of bad men, who were dead 
and were commissioned on their present business ot 
tormenting the children of men by Beelzebub. Jesus 
therefore, replied, provided this were the true state ot 
the case, that Beelzebub, by lending his assistance in 
casting out his own devils, was overturning his own 
kingdom. He then adds, that this powerful spirit 
for such the Pharisees supposed him to be, could 
not be compelled to perform such an unwelcome 
task, unless a stronger one than Beelzebub himself, 
should first come, should bind him, and take away his 

Luke x 18 " And he said unto them, I beheld 
satan as lightning fall from heaven." The following 
remarks from Jahn are also sufficient on this text. He 
says p. 225—" Jesus, in Luke x. 17, does not as- 
sert 'the operations of demons in men, for he couples 
satans with serpents and scorpions, which places us 
under the necessity of interpreting all these words 
tropically, and of understanding by them cunning and 
powerful adversaries, who opposed the progress of the 
Gospel, but with all their power were unable to inter- 
rupt its advancement. The expressions which he em- 
ploys are as follows. ' I see satan/ i. e. all the adver- 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 101 

saries of the Gospel, who are afterwards called ser- 
pents, scorpions, and the enemy's host, 'fall like light- 
ning from heaven,' i. e. from the political heaven, from 
power and authority. Consult Isai. xiv. 12, 13, Matt. 
24th chapter, Luke x. 15, Revelation xii. 7—9; see 
also Cicero, where he says to Mark Antony, you have 
hurled your colleagues down from heaven. (The ad- 
versaries of the Gospel occur in Luke xxii. 31, under 
the name of Satan.) ' Behold, (he proceeds,) I give 
unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and 
over all the power of the enemy,' i. e. of overcoming 
and subduing by your miraculous gifts all adversaries, 
'and nothing shall by any means hurt you,' i. e. op- 
press and overcome you. < Notwithstanding, in this 
rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you, but 
rather rejoice, because your names are written in 
heaven,' i. e. rejoice rather in the favor of God, than in 
the power of casting out devils, or of healing the most 
difficult diseases." In addition to these remarks I 
would ask, how many fallings from heaven has satan 
had, for he fell from heaven before he tempted Eve, 
and fell again it seems while the seventy disciples were 
on their tour of preaching ? But how did he get to 
heaven to make a second fall from it, and while there, 
was he also walking about on our earth seeking whom 
he might devour ? 

Luke xiii. 16. " And ought not this woman, being 
a daughter of Abraham, whom satan hath bound, ]o° 
these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the 
Sabbath day ?" Jahn on this passage says, p. 227 — 
"Jesus liberates the woman, described in Luke xiii. 12, 
as bowed down with infirmity, without making any men- 
tion of a demon ; if, therefore, a little after/he asserts, 
that she was a daughter of Abraham, bound by Satan 
for eighteen years, the expressions are to be considered 



jq2 an iNVUtt — ri RT >• 

as figurative, being an allusion to the loosing of oxen, 

"hfclt It was lawful to do on the Sabbath in order to 

lead thera to drink, and having reference at the same 

me an opinion among the Jews that al diseases had 

Matth xvi . says-" that the Jews usually attributed 
some of the more grievous diseases to evil spirits, espe- 
ci Tv those in which either the body was distorted or 
Z mind disturbed." Jahn and Dr. Lightfoot a low 
at" ch opinions existed among the Jews, and we have 
s own Sec iv. how they came to imbibe them. But 
™te„ance is given' to the truth of the opmion 
that a fallen angel was the cause of '*"*" **" 
erder It is called " a sprit of infirmity. Dr. Camp 
Ml ays, Divert, vi.-" It is a common idiom among 
the Jew , » pu, spirit before any quality ascribed to 
L person whether it be good or bad, mental or eorpo- 
reil Thus the spirit of fear, the spirit of meekness 
he spirit of slumber, the spirit of jealousy, are used , o 
express habitual fear," be. A spin' of infirmity 
the, was an habitual infirmity, winch was certainly 
ru o his woman, for she could in no wise lift up her- 
s™ " for eighteen years." This complain, medical 
men have called- " the rigidity of the back bone. - 
So i e when our Lord restored her, he does no. com- 
S dsatan to leave this woman, nor doesherebr , e 
him but says—" woman, thou art loosed. boosed 
from satan } No, thou art loosed from dime infirmity. 
S hound her, and was sufficient without his ass, - 
tance. Notice further, that our Lord in the act ol 
ealingher "laid his hands or .he, an *"*££ 
she was made straight and glorified God. 1 he ruler 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 103 

of the synagogue, speaking according to the true state 
of the case, spoke of this woman as laboring under a 
mere bodily disorder. He does not say — there are six 
days, in them come and he loosed from safaris bond- 
age, but in them come and be healed, verse 14. He 
was filled with indignation because our Lord had healed 
her on the Sabbath. What was said by our Lord 
about satan, in defence of his conduct, is predicated on 
two grounds; 1st. On the principles of common hu- 
manity, which the Jews exercised towards their cattle 
on the Sabbath. "Thou hypocrite," says Jesus, "doth 
not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his 

ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering ?" 

What was the inference from this? Ought not this 
woman, a daughter of Abraham, to be loosed from her 
infirmity on the Sabbath ? 2d. He defends his con- 
duct on the supposition that satan had bound this wo- 
man. If they believed this, how could they blame him 
for loosing her on the Sabbath day. Who could resist 
these reasons? Accordingly it is said, verse 17, that 
"all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people 
rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by 
him." But let us suppose, that satan positively was 
the cause of this woman's disorder, what follows? It 
follows, that our Lord, neither on this or any other oc- 
casion, warned men against his great power and ma- 
lignity, nor were the people half so much alarmed, as 
they would have been, if a wild beast had visited their 
neighborhood. They showed no fear respecting such 
a powerful wjcked being. Whoever contends that sa- 
tan bound this woman, ought to contend, that all per- 
sons so bound now, and why not all diseases, are in- 
flicted by him. If this be true, we are in a miserable 
condition. Medical men may scatter all their know- 
ledge of the healing art to the winds, and henceforth 



104 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

learn to work miracles, or cultivate the friendship of 
satan, as the only means left them of excelling in their 

profession. . T , 

Luke xxii. 3. "Then entered satan into Judas, sur- 
named Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve — 
If satan entered into Judas, was not Judas possessed ot 
satan ? But it is a fact, that though persons are said 
to have been possessed of demons, yet we never read 
of one who was possessed of the devil or satan «ut 
how could satan be in Judas, tormenting the wicked in 
hell, and temping all the world besides, unless we make 
him almost equal to God himself? And if he did enter 
Judas for the purpose of working evil, is it not strange 
that some good angel did not also enter him to coun- 
ter-work his evil devices? Well, what satan entered 
into Judas ? I answer, the spirit of opposition to Je- 
sus, the purpose to betray him. The 4th verse.shows 
this for " he went his way and communed with the 
chief priests and captains how he might betray him 
unto them." See on the next passage. _ 

John xiii. 27. " And after the sop satan entered into 
him " What satan now entered Judas, for it was said 
in the preceding passage, that satan had entered into 
him ? I answer, his fixed determination immediately 
to execute his purpose. It was just before the last 
Passover, Judas purposed to betray Jesus, and bargain- 
ed with the chief priests about it, Matth. xxvi. 14—W. 
This purpose is called satan entering into h,m, Luke 
xx ii i_7, and the devil putting it into his heart, John 
. xiii 2 But, from the time he formed the purpose, until 
he received the sop, none but himself, Jesus, and the 
chief priests knew his design. At verse 10, Jesus 
savs "ye are clean, but not all." Comp. verse 1 1.— 
Again, at verse 18, he says-" but that the Scripture 
may be fulfilled, he that eateth bread with me hath 



AN INQUIRY PART I. ) Q5 

lifted up his heel against me." But at verse 21, Jesus 
says plainly, "one of you shall betray me." This ex- 
cited the inquiry, "Lord who is it?" To point the 
person out, Jesus says-" he it is to whom I shall give 
a sop when I have dipped it. And when he had dip- 
aed the sop be gave it to Judas." The words before 
us immediately follow-" and after the sop satan en- 
tered into him." What connexion could there be be- 
twixt his receiving the sop and a fallen angel entering 
mo him ? But there is a rational connexion between* 
receiving the sop, and his determination to execute his 
purpose immediately. The delicate hints of guilt agi- 
tated Judas m.nd : but giving him the sop, must have 
roused Inm to fury, as he was now openly exposed, and 
be departs to execute his design. The words which 
follow confirm this-" that thou doest do quickly."- 
Ihese words, though not understood by the rest of the 
d.sc.ples appear to have been well understood bv Ju- 
das. They hastened his departure; for upon hearing 
them he went "immediately out." But where did he 
goto and for what purpose ? To his employers, the 
ch.ef pnests, that he might execute his determination. 
See Matth. xxvk 47-50. What is a remarkable fact, 
and confirms the above view, satan is never said to have 
entered into the Jews. And why not ? Because they 
had a ways been a satan or adversary to our Lord._ 
But Judas had been one of Christ's professed friends, 
and the same satan .which had always been in the Jews 
entered into him when he formed the design to betray 
Jesus, a nd also when he determined to execute his de- 
sign, lo this day, when a man acts a very wicked 
part, contrary to his former professions, we in popular 
language say, "satan has entered into him." Besides 
the view g.ven is in agreement with the Old Testa' 



106 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

ment usage of the term satan, where it is applied to the 
evil principles and bad passions in men. 

Acts v. 3. " But Peter said, Ananias, why hath 
satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost and to 
keep back part of the price of the land?" It is not 
said that satan entered into Ananias, but only that he 
had filled his heart. But what is meant by the words 

"why hath satan filled thine heart," is in verse 4 

thus explained — " why hast thou conceived this thing 
in thine heart." Here two things are obvious. First, 
what in the one sentence is said to be done by satan, 
is in the other ascribed to Ananias himself; and sec- 
ond, what is meant by satan filling the heart, is ex- 
plained to mean, Ananias conceiving this thing in his 
heart. It seems to be an Hebrew idiom, and is illus- 
trated by the words of Ahasuerus to Esther the queen. 
"Who is he? And where is he that durst presume in 
his heart to do so?" It is in the margin — "whose heart 
hath filled him." See Esth. vii. 5. Notice further, 
it is not said satan had filled the heart of Sapphira, 
verse 9, Peter only says to her— "how is it that ye 
have agreed together to tempt the spirit of the Lord?" 
But why? for she lied as well as her husband. This 
is accounted for by considering, that great or uncom- 
mon instances of natural or moral evil among the Jews 
were ascribed to satan. Peter speaks at the outset, of) 
the greatness of the sin of lying to the Holy Spirit; in| 
the popular language of the times : but he had also ex- 
plained his meaning, or spoken according to the true' 
state of the case, by saying, "why bast thou conceived 
this thing in thine heart?" After this it would hav< 
been incongruous to introduce again the popular lan- 
guage about satan in speaking to Sapphira. Peter I 
explanation of the popular language — " why hastthoi 1 
conceived this thing in thine heart," agrees preciselj 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 107 

•bSf 3 \ t/ iTT how p eop,e are tem P ted tosi °' 

cftap .,. Jo, 14. James does not allow any man to say 
when he ,s tempted, that he is tempted of God, for God 
tempteth no man. Bat if it be true, that Ananias was 
or any man is tempted of satan, would he not alloV 
hem to say the truth ? But Jau.es expressly declares 
that every man .s tempted when he is drawn away of 
his own lust. Ananias and his wife were drawn away 
by their lust or love of money. This satan filled their 
heart, and they were enticed by it to lie to the Spirit 
of God. But had a fallen angel enticed them, why is 
he never blamed for it by those whom he seduced?- 
Did David blame him ? Did even Judas blame him ? 
«o bad as be was, he takes all the blame to himself-, 

i have betrayed the innocent blood." Nor is satan 
ever threatened with any punishment. Ananias and 
his wife are struck dead for their crime, hut. if satan was 
the chief agent why does he escape? For a very good 
reason there never was such a being to be punished. 

Acts xxv, 18. -To open their eyes, and to turn 
hem from darkness to light, and from the power of 

does not afford an instance tnat he ever purposed, or 
actually did turn a single individual from the power of 
a fallen angel called the devil or satan. Had such a 
remarkable thing happened, it would have been noti- 
ced, and the person congratulated on account of his 
deliverance He turned many from the power of the 
adversary, for it is said he turned away much people, 

andf W 7 T 6 n ° G ° dS Whidl Were ™ de with 
l, f WaS , th , er ? no sat ™ or adversary but a fallen 
angel from winch he could turn men ? The persecu- 
ting Jews are called satan. Peter was called satan.— 
And 8ure , t he whole system of ignorance and super- 
lition, upheld by pnests and civil rulers, was a satan 



108 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

or adversary. See this more fully shown on Eph. vi. 
11, in the next Section. From this satan jnany wa« 

turned, as the history of the Acts of the. Apostles 
shows. Comp. Col.i. 13, where we read of men turn- 
ed from « the power of darkness." Accordingly some 
read the passage before us thus: "to open the.r eyes 
and to turn them from darkness to light, even from the 
power of satan unto God." The darkness of ignorance 
superstition, and wickedness, were the satan from which 
Paul turned men, and this he did by the light of the 
glorious g-ospel of Christ. ■ . 

Rom xvi. 20. « And the God of peace shall bruise 
satan under your feet shortly." It is not easily jM 
ceived how a fallen angel was bruised under the feet 
of Christians in the apostolic age. It does not accord 
with fact, and satan is now believed to be as subtle, 
„' , „ t -._ p a „ pver The term satan is fre- 
powerful, and active as evei. xuc _ 

quently used to designate the persecuting Jews, and 
this declaration of the apostle is agreeable to the fact, 
for they were bruised under the feet of Christians in the I 
destruction of their city and temple and dispell 
among all nations as our Lord predicted, Matth xxi* 
At this period the disciples of Jesus had rest lrom then 

persecutions. r 

1 Cor v 5 " To deliver such an one unto satan to. 

the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be savec 

in the day of the Lord Jesus." The term sp^t* 

often used in Scripture as equivalent to person « to 

the person himself. Paul certainly did not mean > tf 

- person's spirit separate from his body, for it do nc 

aonear that his punishment included such a sepaiation- 

nor that i was to be punished to the end of the worl 

Tnd tin saved, for he' says nothing about the estruc 

tion or punishment of tins spirit. Besides, the con 

mon belief is, that unless persons' spirits are saved b< 



AN INQUIRY— PART I. 109 

fore death, they never can be saved after it ? If satan 
was a fallen angel to whom this person was delivered 
it is rather, strange, that such a being should be in any 
way the instrument of salvation. Besides, if the day 
of the Lord here means the end of this world, and spirit 
a part of man which exists separate from the body, 
why is the salvation of his spirit only mentioned ? One 
should rather think, that it would be the flesh that re- 
quired salvation from the hands of satan, for he was to 
destroy the flesh that the spirit might be saved. It is 
well known, that the term satan signifies an adversa- 
ry. It is often applied to the adversaries of Christians 
and Christianity. This person in the church at Co- 
rinth was guilty of incest. See verse 1. The apostle 
commanded them to deliver him over to this satan, or 

to put him away from among themselves, verse 13'. 

This was to be done for the person's good, the destruc- 
tion or punishment of the flesh, or to bring him to re- 
pentance, and that he might be saved in the day of the 
Lord Jesus. The first question that arises here is, what 
day of the Lord Jesus is meant ? I answer, that day 
which our Lord had forewarned his disciples of, and in 
view of which he exhorted them to be found watchful 
and fanhful. See Matth. xxiv. Well, what kind of 
salvation did the apostle mean, when he said, < that the 
spirit or person may be saved in the day of the Lord 
Jesus.-' I answer the same kind of salvation enjoyed 
dv all those who endured to the end. Matth. xxiv. 13. 
Inis person was not believing to the salvation of his 
soul or person, but was drawing back to perdition.— 
He was not looking for his Lord's coming, but was say- 
ing by his conduct, my Lord delaveth his coming 
buch were the means prescribed for converting this sin- 
ner from the error of his way, and saving^ soul or 
person from death, and hiding a multitude of sins, Th* 



1 10 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

means proved effectual, as is evident from 2 Cor. ii. 
where Paul commands the Corinthians to forgive him, 
and to confirm their love to him ; and assigns as a rea- 
son why thev should do so, 'lest satan should get an 
advantage of us ; for we are not ignorant of his devi- 
ces ' What satan, pray? The very same satan or 
the' adversaries of the gospel, to whom this person was 
delivered for the destruction of the flesh. 

1 Tim i 20 " Of whom is Hymeneus and Alex- 
ander- whom I have delivered unto satan that they 
may learn not to blaspheme." The remarks on the 
last text are sufficient here. 

1 Cor vii 5. " Defraud ye not one the other, ex- 
cept it be with consent for a time, that ye may give 
yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together 
Lain that satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 
A Corinth, prostitution formed a part of the worship 
of the cods. To avoid fornication, the apostle com- 
mands^ every man should have his own^vde and 
every woman her own husband, verse 2. But il the 
one defrauded the other, the defrauded in such a place 
as Corinth, was liable to be tempted by satan or^ 
adversaries of the gospel, to licentiousness Tc guarf 
them against bringing such a reproach on Christ s name 
ii injunction was delivered. Comp. verse 4, where 
eir nmtual rights are stated. But somewhat of a dif- 
ferent view may be given of this passage in agreemen 
with the Scripture usage of the term satan It some 
times designates lust or sinful desire, wh.ch might, i 
the one defrauded the other, prove a satan or adversary 
to tempt them to licentious indulgence. 

2 Cor ii 11. « Lest satan should get an advantag. 
of us : for we are not ignorant of his devices." See o) 
1 Cor. v. 5, above, for the meaning of tins text. 1 mai 
just add, that the Scripture usage of the term satat 



AN INQUIRY PART I. HI 

would warrant us to say, that an unforgiving temper 
of mind was the satan here referred to. It is surely an 
adversary to a Christian, and gets an advantage over 
him if he indulges it. * 

2 Cor. xi. 14. " And no marvel ; for satan himself 
is transformed into an angel of light." The whole 
context goes to show that the apostle is speaking of 
human bemgs. He speaks 1st. Of satan, which sim- 
ply means an adversary; and we think it indisputable 
that this term is applied both in the Old and New Tes- 
taments to the unbelieving and persecuting Jews. They 
were transformed into an angel of light, for their oppo- 
sition was under the pretence ofgreat zeal for God and 
the law. It is implied, that in reality they were the 
angel of darkness, considered by Zoroaster the author 
and director of all evil. This was indeed the case with 
the Jews, for they were the authors and directors of all 
the opposition to Christians and Christianity, as the 
New Testament shows. 2d. The apostle also speaks 
of the « ministers" of this satan. No one we think can 
dispute, that the apostle calls the false teachers in the 
church at Corinth the ministers of satan. They were 
transformed as ministers of righteousness, for under pre 
tence of preaching the gospel they perverted it. See 
■ verses 3, 4, 12, 13, 15. They preached another gos- 
pel, see Gal. i. 6—10. Compare Acts xv. 1, & c . 
Gal. v. 1—7, and many other passages. They were 
in heart opposed to the Gospel, and were in fact joined 
iwitn the unbelieving Jews, in opposing the truth and 
the apostles who preached it. They were the minis- 
ters or assistants of the Jews, who were the open and 
avowed adversaries of Christianity. If satan was trans- 
formed into an angel of light, there was no cause to 
marvel, that his ministers should transform themselves 
into the apostles of Christ, and as ministers of right. 



112 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

eousness. The apostle says concerning them " whose 
end shall be according to their works. What end^? 
The apostle tells us that their end " is destruction, 
Phil iii 18 19. The same destruction which came on 
the unbelieving Jews whose ministers they were see 
Phil i 28, 29; 1 Peter iv. 17, 18. See particularly 
on Matth. xxiv. xxv, and 2 Thess. ii. in the Second 

Part 

2 Cor xii 7. " And lest I should be exalted above 
measure,' through the abundance of the revelations, 
there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messen- 
ger of satan, to buffet me, lest I should be exalted 
above measure." The word which is here translated 
messenger is angrtos, and which in other places is ren- 
dered angel. It was "the angel of satan,' that buffeted 
Paul. Dr. Kennicott says, Dissert, i. p. 100 *or 
the messenger of satan means here a false teacher, in 
opoosition to a true apostle called 'the messenger of 
God ' Gal. iv. 14." See Parkhurst on the word An- 
gelos : and on the last passage for the satan here meant. 

1 Thess ii. 18. "Wherefore we would have come 
unto you (even 1 Paul) once and again ; but satan hin- 
dered us." Acts xvii. 1 Thess. iii. 1-9, with many 
other passages show, that the satan who hindered Paul 
from going to the Thessalonians, was the persecuting 
Jews, who are frequently called satan. Nothing in 
Paul's history shows a fallen angel ever troubled him. 
Only render the term satan, adversary here, and in 
other places, and such a being disappears. _ ; 

2 Thess ii 9. " Even him, whose coming is alter 
the working of satan, with all power, and signs, and 
lyin* wonders." The apostle simply says here whose 
coming is after the working of the adversary. If this 
is understood of the persecuting Jews, who are called 
satan in other texts, it is agreeable to the fact, for many 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 113 

came in Christ's name before the destruction of Jeru- 
salem, pretending to work miracles, so that if it had 
been possible they would have deceived the very elect. 
See Matth. xxiv. and Whitby on 2 Thess. chap. ii. 

1 Tim. v. 15. "For some are already turned aside 
after satan." What satan had they turned aside after ? 
The words which immediately precede show this : " I 
will therefore that the younger women marry, bear chil- 
dren, guide the house, give none occasion to the ad- 
versary to speak reproachfully." The satan, after 
whom they had turned aside, was evidently the Jews, 
for they are called both satan and adversary in other 
texts, and they did speak reproachfully of Christians. 
It is not easily perceived, how persons could turn aside 
after a fallen ange!, but to apostatise from the faith, or 
go over to its adversaries, is easily understood. 

Rev. ii. 9. "I know thy works, and tribulation, and 
poverty, (but thou art rich,) and I know the blasphe- 
my of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but 
are the synagogue of satan." Who a true Jew was, 
Paul informs us, Rom. ii. 28, 29. The persons spoken 
of, said they were Jews, but were not. They were of 
synagogue of satan, belonged to the synagogue of the 
unbelieving persecuting Jews. W T ho ever ^supposed 
that a fallen angel had a synagogue, and, that the per- 
sons John speaks of belonged to it ? Nor can it be be- ' 
lieved, any number of men had a synagogue in those 
days, which was called " the synagogue of satan," or of 
a fallen angel. But the synagogue of the Jews, or the 
adversary, occasions no difficulty. 

Rev. iii. 9. " Behold I will make them of the svna- 
gogue of satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, 
but do lie ; behold I will make them to come and wor- 
ship .^before thy feet, and to know that I have loved 
thee." See on the last passage a sufficient illustration 



114 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

oi this text. I would only add, that it has been thought 
by some, there is an allusion here to the subjection oi 
Jews to the Christians in the flourishing state of Cnns- 

tia R e y v ii 13. " I know thy works, and where thou 
dwellest, even where satan's seat is : and thou holdest 
fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in 
those days wherein Antipas was my J-thful martyr jho 
was slain among you, where satan dwelleth. satan 
here means a fallen angel, it must be admitted, that his 
seat was at Pergamus in the days of John. But it 
satan is only rendered adversary all difficulty is at once 
removed. Pergamus was a noted place for opposition 
to Christianity, for here Antipas suffered death and 
Christ's disciples are highly commended for holding 
fast his name in such a place of persecution It will 
not be easy to show how a wicked spirit had his seat 
or throne at Pergamus, and at the same time was walk- 
me about seeking whom he might devour. 

°Rev ii 24. " But unto you I say, and unto the rest 
in Thyatira, (as many as have not this doctrine, and 
who have not known the depths of satan, as they 
speak) I will put upon you none other burden. Here 
again it is only necessary to translate the word satan 
adversary, and all idea of a fallen angel ^appears-. 
The deep things, or depths of satan are the depth oi 
the adversary. It is said that the Gnostics called their 
Lsteries the" deep things of God and the deep things 
of By thus. And Lowman calls it the deep arts of de- 
ceit and error. Paul says, we are not ignorant of his 
devices, 2 Cor. ii. 11. And the whole conduct of the 
persecuting Jews is a comment on this passage and 
others above considered. 

Such are all the places in the New Testament where 
the word satan occurs, and it is evident, the Uld and 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 1 15 

New Testament usage of it are similar, or rather the 
same. In neither does it designate a fallen an^el 
whom Christians call the devil and satan. 



SECTION VI. 

ALL THE PASSAGES WHERE THE ORIGINAL TERM DIA- 
BOLOS, TRANSLATED DEVIL, IS USED, CONSIDERED. 

We have seen that the term satan means an adver- 
sary, and have noticed its various applications by the 
sacred writers. We are now to pay some attention to 
the meaning and application of the term (diabolos) 
devil, where it occurs in the New Testament. 

Let it be then observed, in general, that the term 
devils is used in the following places in the Old Tes- 
tament. " And they shall no more offer their sacrifices 

unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. 

They sacrificed unto devils, not to God ; to gods whom 
they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom 
your fathers feared not. And Jeroboam ordained him 
priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for 
the calves which he had made. Yea, they sacrificed 
their sons and their daughters unto devils." Lev. xvii. 
7 ; Deut. xxxii. 17 ; 2 Chron. xi. 15 ; Psalm cvi. 37.' 
The word rendered devils in this last text is daimonion 
m the Seventy's version, and also in the following pla- 
ces : Psalm xcvi. 5, and xci. 6 ; Isai. lxv. 10, xxxiv. 
14 and xiii. 21. It is evident, these devils, or demons, 
were only heathen idols, or Pagan deities, which could 



HQ AN INQUIRY— PAKT 1. 

neither do good nor evil to any man. They were 
made, and some of them were styled new gods which 
had come newly up, and which were not formerly 
known by the Jews or their fathers. To these demons 
or gods, the Jews sacrificed their sons and daughters. 
But they were altogether different from what is meant 
by the devil or satan ; for as Dr. Campbell observes— 
"They could no more be said to have worshipped the 
devil as we Christians understand the term, than they 
could be said to have worshipped the cannibals of New 
Zealand ; because they had no more conception ol the 
one than of the other." Dissert, vi. He adds, " As 
to the worship of the devil, ton diabolous, nothing can 
be clearer than that in Scripture, no Pagans are charged 
with it." The fact is, the Jews knew nothing about 
the devil until they went to Babylon. Dr. Campbell 
savs " The word diabolos, in its ordinary acceptation, 
s\*nkes calumniator, traducer, false accuser, from the 
ve°rb diaballein, to calumniate." This is also its mean- 
ino- as given by Parkhurst and other lexicographers, 
which need not be quoted. Its extraordinary ac^ 
tation, with them and others is, it designates a fallen an- 
gel who is the implacable enemy of God and man.— I 
But the first three passages which I shall quote, show 
that our translators understood the word diabolosm the 
way Dr. Campbell explains it, which he says, is its or- 
dinary acceptation. The first is 

1 Tim. hi. 11. " Even so must their wives be grave, 
not slanderers (diabolous.) sober, faithful in all things." 
Here pious women are exhorted not to be slanderers; 
literally, " not to be devils." The very same word is 
used, verses 6, 7, in the singular number, and is ren-< 
dered devil. Again, it is said, Titus ii. 3, « the aged 
women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh 
holiness, not false accusers" (diabolous.) Aged, pious 



■ 

AN INQUIRY PART I. J 17 

women are exhorted not to be devils ! Again, 2 Tim. 
in, 3, speaking f those who in the last days should 
have a form of godliness but denying the power of it 
they are sa.d to be « without natural affection, truce- 
breakers, false accusers" (diaboloi). Literally, devils, 
buffer me now to ask, why in these texts the word was 
; not rendered devils ? The reason is obvious ; it would 
appear very strange to our ears to exhort Christian wo- 
men not to be devils, for we have associated the idea of 
a fallen angel with this word as we have with the term 
i satan. It would have been a similar impropriety, had 
the angel of the Lord, David, and others been called 
satan. But to avoid this, satan is rendered adversary 
in the Old Testament, and in the above, texts, the term 
; diabolos is rendered slanderer and false accuser. These 
texts however, show us, both how it was understood by 
the apostle and also by our translators. Let the 
reader keep these remarks in view, while we consider 
all the other texts, where the term diabolos occurs in 
:tne New Testament. 

John vi. 70. « Have not I chosen you twelve, and 
one of you is a devil?" Dr. Campbell renders the 
term diabolos here spy, and Newcome and Wakefield, 
;render it accuser. This is an agreement with the pre- 
ceding texts, and further remark is unnecessary. 

John xni. 2. « And supper being ended (the devil 
■ having now put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, 
bimon s son, to betray him)." See on Luke xxii. 3. 
and John xiii. 27, in the last Section, as a sufficient 
explanation of this passage. What is said to be done 
m satan in one, is said to be done by the devil in the 
other. Suffer me here to ask, When one man betrays 

another in our day, is the plea sustained in court or 
any wnere els6j that the devH u ^ ed hjm Qn ^ h ? 

And, would any man hang himself, if he believed he 



118 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

was the tool of such a powerful and malicious being ? 
Judas' crime is wholly imputed to himself, Acts i. 17, 
18. And every man is conscious when he sins, that 
he did not need the assistance of such a being. The 
Scriptures, in plain language, refer sin to ourselves and 
not to the devil. See James i. 14, and M-ark vn. 21, 

22. 

1 Peter v. 8, 9. " Be sober, be vigilant, because 
your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh 
about, seeking whom he may devour : whom resist? 
steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions 
are accomplished in your brethren that are in the 
world." As this is one of the principal texts quoted 
in proof of the existence of an evil being, called the 
devil, I shall consider it particularly. We have then, 
1st. An exhortation, "be sober, be vigilant. Ihib 
was addressed to Christians scattered throughout 1 on- 
tus, Galatia, &c.,chap.i. 1. It is so plain, they were 
suffering persecution from the enemies oi the gospel, 
that it would be loss of time to give any proof oi it. 
2d. We have next the reason assigned why this ex- 
hortation should be obeyed. Why be sober and vigi- 
lant? " Because your adversary the devil, as a roar- 
incr lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may de-i 
vo°ur." It is confidently believed by many good peo- 
ple, that this devil who walketh about hke a roaring 
lion, is a fallen angel, or malignant spirit. But 1 asm 
how is such a belief to be reconciled with bis having 
his abode in hell, with some in the air, and others, his 
tempting men in all parts of the earth at the same 
time? "Such a belief is contrary to all facts and ex- 
perience. Did ever any person see the devil m the 
shape of a lion, hear him roar, or is an instance on re- 
cord in the history of mankind of one being devoured 
by him ? Such idle, childish stones have been told oi- 



AN INQUIRE PART 1. 119 

I the devil, but what man in our day gives the least 
| credit to them. I find human beings are frequently 
compared to lions— Numb, xxiii. 24 ; xxiv. 8, 9 ; Jer. 
If 17 ; 2 Tim. iv. 17 ; also to roaring lions, Psal. xxii. 
13 ; Prov. xix. 12 ; xx. 2 ; Jer. ii. 15 ; Jsai. v. 29. 
They are also compared to a devouring lion, Psalm 
xvii. 12; xxii. 21 ; Jer. ii. 30 ; iv. 7 ; Ezek. xix. 1 
—6 : xxii. 25. On examination I also find that God 
is compared to a lion and a roaring lion, Tsai. xxxi. 4 ; 
Hosea xi. 10; xiii. 7, 8; Amos iii. 4—8. Not one 
instance can I find where the devil, a fallen angel, is 
compared to a lion. If be is so in this passage, it is 
:a solitary instance, which is presumptive evidence that 
this was not the apostle's meaning. Who then was 
,this roaring lion ? Peter answers by saying, " your 
adversary the devil. The word here rendered adver- 
sary is antidikos. It only occurs in this and the fol- 
lowing texts in the New Testament, Matth. v. 25 ; 
Luke xii. 58 ; xviii. 3. Parkhurst says, it means " an 
adversary or opponent in a law-suit," and quotes 
Herodian in proof of it. The text under considera- 
ion, is the only one in which he considers this word 
,0 mean a fallen angel or the devil. He desires us to 
ktaipare Rev. xii. 10; Job i. 9 ; ii. 3, and Zach. iii. 
(fin proof that antidikos in this text means such a 
kicked spirit. It is very plain that he considered ad- 
rersary and devil to mean the same thing. We have 
iot only compared, but have considered the passages, 
iection iii., and our readers may judge from the evi- 
ence we have adduced if they teach such a doctrine, 
n short, to say that the word devil, or the word adver- 
an/ here used as its explanation, refers to a fallen an- 
el, is taking for granted the very question at issue. — 
Vho then was this adversary, who went about like a 
wing lion ? By recurring to the New Testament 



120 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

usage of antikeimai, also rendered adversary, we shall 

see this. 

1st. It is rendered adversary and applied to men 
who were the adversaries of Christ and of Christian^ 
ty, particularly the persecuting Jews. Thus, when 
our Lord had refuted the Jews who had found iauj- 
with him for healing a person on their Sabbath, it is 

sa id « all his adversaries were ashamed," Luke xnii 

17. He also said to his disciples—" L will give you 
a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries shall 
not be able to gainsay nor resist," Luke xxi. 1®*M 
Again, Paul says, 1 Cor. xvi. 9.—" For a great doo 
and effectual is opened unto me, and there are man; 
adversaries.'^ And Philip, i. 28, he says,--" And i 
nothino- terrified by your adversaries : which is t 
them an evident token of perdition." And in 1 ±m 
v 14, he exhorteth young women to conduct their 
selves as to "ive " none occasion to the adversary | 
speak reproachfully" In all these texts the adverse 
ries of the gospel, particularly the Jews are referre 
to by the term adversary. 

2d It is rendered by the words opposeth and cot 

frary, and applied to the following things. To tl 

man of sin. " Who opposeth and exalteth himse 

above all that is called God," 2 Thess. ii. 4. To tl 

opposition between flesh and spirit. " J? or the tie 

lusteth against the spirit and the spirit against the ties 

and these are contrary the one to the other, l*a . I 

17 And in 1 Tim. i. 10, it is used to express whd 

ever is opposed to the truth. ■« And if there be ail 

other thing that is contrary, or an adversary, to soul 

doctrine." It is then beyond all fair debate, that a 

tikeimai, adversary, is not once used in reference 

the devil or satan, though most people say he is t 

greatest adversary of both God and man. lhe Is 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 121 

is certain from the above texts, and the whole New 

Testament is an illustration of it, that the opposing 
[Jews were the adversary of Christians and the chief 
■pause of all their persecutions. They were the de- 
Ivi], the slanderer, or false accuser, who went about 
las a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour. See 
•i-Acts xvii, and indeed all the New Testament. It is 
jilso evident, that the lusts and evil passions of men 
fere termed adversary in several texts. And why are 
fthey termed so ? I answer, because it is this devil or 
-idversary within men, which makes them devils or ad- 
versaries in their conduct. I may add, the term satan 

|e have seen signifies an adversary, and devil and sa- 
i)an are used synonimously in the New Testament, 
4>.nd both terms are used to express opposing persons 
i .nd opposing things. That person or thing, is a de- 
inl, satan, or adversary to another which is opposed to 
j| The unbelieving, persecuting Jews are in scrip- 
ture compared to a lion. Thus Paul says, 2 Tim. iv. 
|p, 17. — " At my first answer no man stood with me, 

ut all men forsook me : I pray God that it may not be 
i ud to their charge. Notwithstanding, the Lord stood 
i nth me and strengthened me ; that by me the preach- 
!ig might be fully known and that all the Gentiles 
mght hear; and I was delivered out of the mouth of 

ie lion." It is thought by some, that by the lion, 
:'aul referred to Nero or his prefect Helius Cesarianus, 
i>whom he committed the government in his absence' 
Kith power to put to death\vho m he pleased. The 
??ason given for this application of lion to Nero is, 

■ Marsyas said to Agrippa when Tiberias died— 
i the lion is dead." Whether Paul ever heard this 
Hog is uncertain, and if he had, we doubt whether 

s wisdom and prudence, in his then critical circum- 

ances, would have allowed him to make such an al- 



122 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

lusion. What leads me to conclude that Paul, by the 
lion, referred to his persecutors the Jews, are the fol- 
lowing things : . 

1st They actually went about like a lion to devour 
him and at the time he wrote he was in bonds from their 
persecutions. Nero, nor any other Roman magistrate 
sought after Paul, until stirred up by the Jews. He 
was even obliged to appeal to Caesar to be delivered 
from their hands. „ . . 

2d. In Psalm xxii. 13, 21, where Christ and his 
enemies are spoken of, the persecuting Jews are ex- 
pressly compared to a roaring lion. If Paul compared 
them to this, he had the example of David for it. lo: 
this Psalm probably Paul alluded in the passage be- 

fore us. .. c ■ 

3d To understand the apostle by the lion, referring 

to the persecuting Jews, renders its usage uniform in 

the New Testament, but to understand it a fallen an. 

gel, is at variance with its entire usage throughout the 

Bible. It is agreeable to the fact, that the Jews wenl 

about as a roaring lion, but it is contrary to al .facta 

and experience, that a fallen angel ever did this.-- 

But Peter adds, "whom resist steadfast in the faith 

knowing that the same afflictions * r f , /^P 1 ^. 11 

your brethren that are in the world. I he amic< 

tions" of Christians in the apostolic age arose from th( 

persecuting Jews. Compare verse 10, and vanou 

other parts of the Epistle. But was a fallen angel n 

various places at the same time afflicting them i 1 tfe 

sides, how could they resist steadfast in the faith a, 

invisible spirit ? It was with wicked men they had * 

contend, and from whom they suffered, bee 1 1 ete 

iv 12 • i 7. The word devil, we have seen, s.gnihe 

a slanderer or false accuser. Peter then says in thu 

passao-e,— " your adversary the slanderer or false ao 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 123 

cuser goeth about as a roaring lion." That this re- 
ferred to men, no one, we think, can doubt who reads 
chap. u. 12, 15, 20; iii. 15—17, and iv. 4, of this 
epistle. Nor will any one dispute, that the words o' 
antidikos, 'umon diabolos may be rendered thus • " the 
adversary your false accuser," or, « your adversary the 
false accuser." The whole epistle, is a comment on 
this view of the passage, nor would any one have ever 
thought of a fallen angel, had the word diabolos been 

rendered false accuser, as it is in some other places 

Common sense, and common scripture usage of words, 
lead to no other interpretation. ft should be remem- 
bered Peter was a Jew, and was familiar with the 
meaning of the terms satan and devil. Jesus had 
called him satan, and Judas a devil ; and could there 
be any impropriety in calling the persecutors of Chris- 
tians « your adversary, the devil ?" And on account 
of their ferocious cruelty comparing them to a roaring 
.ion walking about seeking whom he might devour. 

It is objected to this view of the passage— " the 
persecutors of Christians in Peter's day were many, 
>ut here he speaks of them as one.?' This objection 
las no force, for it is well known, that in Scripture the 
ingu ar is frequently put for the plural, and the reverse, 
besides, all know, that when many are spoken of col- 
ectively they are considered as one, and especially 
rhen they act in unison about any object. The per- 
ecutors of Christians were many, but never did manv 
ct more in unison about any object than they did in 
pposing Christians and Christianity. It is further ob- 
JCted— « Peter speaks emphatically of the devil, as 
he was a real being, for he calls him the devil"— 
answer ; the word diabolos here is without the article, 
lerefore this objection is without force. Even if it 
ad been used, the objection would derive little or no 



124 AN INQUIRY— PART *• 

force from it, for it was very natural and P^er Jor 
Peter to speak of the persecutors of Christians in this 
emphatic manner. - 'y , , ., 

John viii. 44. " Ye are of your father the devil, 
and the lusts of your father ye will do : he was a mur- 
derer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, 
because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh 
a lie, he speaketh of his own : for he is a liar and the 
father of it." If the devil was the father of the un- 
believing Jews whom our Lord here addressed, it is 
plain they were his sons or children The question 
[hen is, what devil was their father ? Professor Stuart 
shall inform us. In his letters to Dr. Miller, pp. 95- 
99, he thus writes : . „ 

« The word son was a favorite one among the He- 
brews ; and was employed by them to designate a 
great Variety of relations. The son of any thing ac- 
cording to oriental idioms, may be either -whatu , close- 
ly connected with it, dependent on it like it, the con- 
sequence of it, worthy of it, 8fC. But this v.ew of, 
the subject must be explained, by actual exam pes 
from the Scriptures. The following I have selected 
from the Old and New Testaments. 

« The son of eight days, i. e. the ch.ldthat is eight 
days old ; the son of one hundred years, i. e. the per- 
son who is one hundred years of age ; the son of a 
year, i. e. a yearling ; the son of my sorrow, i e. one 
who has caused me distress ; the son of my right hand 
i. e. one who will assist or be a help to me ; son of old 
age, i. c. begotten in old age ; son of valor, t. e. bold, 
b?ave ; son of Belial, [lit. son of good-for-nothing,] 
i. e. a worthless man : son of wickedness, i. e. wicked 
son of a murderer, L e. a murderous person ; son oj 
my vows, i. e. son that answers to my vows; sonoj 
death, i. e. one who deserves death ; son of perdition 



AN INQUIRY-^PART I. ) 25 

i. e. one who deserves perdition ; son of smiting, a, e. 
one who deserves stripes ; son of Gehenna, i. e. one 
who deserves Gehenna ; son of consolation, i. e. one 
fitted to administer consolation ; son of thunder, i. e. 
a man of powerful, energetic eloquence or strength ; 
son of peace, i.e. a peaceable man ; son of the morn- 
ing, i. e. morning star ;. son of the burning coal, i. e. 
sparks of fire ; son of the bow, i. e. an arrow ; son of 
the threshing floor, i, e. grain ; son of oil, i. e. fat ; 
son of the house, i. e. domestic or slave ; son of man, 
u e. man, as it is usually applied ; but perhaps in a 
sense somewhat diverse, in several respects, as applied 
to the Saviour. 

"Every kind of relation or resemblance whether 
real or imaginary, every kind of connexion, is charac- 
terised by calling it the son of that thing to which it 
stands thus related, or with which it is connected." 

The Professor adds, " It will be remembered, how 
ever, that when we investigate the meaning of the 
phiase son of the devil, in the Scriptures, we are in- • 
JWsligating the usus loquendi of a Shemitish dialect.— 
This will of course be conceded, in regard to the 
phrase in the Old Testament ; and I may add, that 
all critics are now agreed, that although the words of 
the J\ew Testament are Greek, the idiom is Hebrew." 
Mr. Stuart thee tells us that « the son of any thing 
according to oriental idiom, may be either what is, 
closely connected with it, dependent on it, like it, the 
consequence of it, worthy of it, fyc." He adds, 
'" every kind of relation or resemblance, whether real 
W imaginary, every kind of connexion is characterised 
jy calling it the son of that thing to which it stands 
'has related, or with which it is connected:' It is a 
3lain case then, that if the Jews were of their father 
he devil, or sons of the devil, and if the term devil 
9 



126 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

means a slanderer, our Lord only told them that they 
were "slanderous persons." Were they not closely 
connected with slander, depended on it, were like it, 
and worthy of it ? Mr. Stuart, by the above remarks, 
forever settles the question, that neither here nor any 
where else, son of the devil refers to a fallen angel. — 
I might here close my remarks, but I shall briefly 
notice what is further said in the passage, that we may 
see how it agrees with the view which he has given 
us. It is then said, " and the lusts of your J other ye 
will do." Well, did not the Jews slander the Sa- 
viour ? They certainly did. But it is said, " He was 
a murderer jrom the beginning" We have seen from 
the above quotation, that "son of wickedness," sim- 
ply means « wicked ;" and that " son of a murderer" 
signifies " a murderous person." That the Jews weif 
murderous persons no one disputes. But, it will De 
said, how were the Jews murderous persons from the 
beginning of the world ? This is not said. They 
are only said to have been " murderers from the be- 
ginning" The term arhes, here rendered the begin- 
ning, is used to express, the beginning of our Lord s 
ministry and miracles, John viii. 25 ; vi. 64 ; xv. 27 ; 
xvi. 4 ; and ii. 11 ; 1 John i. 1 ; h. 7, 13, 14, 24; 
and iii. 11 ; 2d Epistle, verses 5, 6. In short, it is 
used to express the beginning of persons and things in 
a variety of ways. See Rev. i. 8 ; iii. 14; xxi. 6, 
and xxii. 13 ; Mark i. 1 ; Philip iv. 15 ; Heb. ii. 3; 
Luke i. 2 ; 2 Thess. ii. 13 ; Acts xi. 15 ; Heb. vn. 3;, 
Acts xxvi. 5 ; Matth. xxiv. 8 ; Mark xiii. 8 ; Heb. m. 
14 ; Col. i. 18. In the following places it refers to 
the beginning of the world : Heb. i. 10 ; Matth. xix. 
4, 8, and xxiv. 21 ; Mark x. 6 ; 2 Peter iii. 4. Bull 
let the reader notice, that in these texts some addition- 
al phrase or circumstance is introduced, showing thai 



AN INQUIRY PART I. J £7 

the beginning of the world is meant. We are not left 
are all the places where tins word is to be found, ex- 

thT Word » TrT h iS Sald "> lhe be ^™g was 
we Word. Tins forms no particular exception to its 
general usage. See the Unitarian and Trinitarian 
controversy respecting this text. The only other text 
which can be deemed an exception, is 1 John iii. 8 
wh,ch will be considered immediately. But it is not' 
necessary to confine its sense to the beginning of the 
gospel dispensation, for the very same devil the Jews 

hTd ' ^ een fr ° m the be S inni "S ° r ^ world 
had deceived Eve, and led Cain to murder his brother 
Abel lhe Jews had been "murderous persons" 
from the beginning of the gospel dispensation From 
our Lord's birth to his death they sought to slay lZ 
In ver Ses 37 40, he accused the Jews of seeking To 
k 11 him ; and this they did because his word had no 
place ,n them, verse 37, they abode not in the truth • 
there was no truth in them. They were of their 
father the devil What this was, is'explained vte 
a a A , 3re fr ° m beneath,—ye are of this world." 
And whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin " 

"hTthat- fl ChaP ', ?" 3 '' ° Ur L ° rd t0ld ^ 
he that .s of the earth is earthy and speaketh of the 

earth » What was t then to be from beneath, of this 
world, and earthy ? Was it not to judge after the flesh, 
or from their earthly corrupt principles and lusts? verse 
P' f 1 !\ e Jews had abode in the truth, or Christ's 
word had been in them, they would not have been 
murderous persons, or made God's law void through 
heir traditions. Had they believed Moses, they would 
have believed in Jesus, for he wrote of him. John v 
45-47 Perhaps it will be said-Are not the Jews 
expressly distinguished from the devil, who is called 



128 AN INQUIRY PART J. 

iheir father? Son and father must, in this case, be 
the same. Professor Stuart informs us above, and 1 
think correctly, that "son of a murderer^ issimply a 
Hebrew idiom for " a murderous person.' 1 he Jews 
were so, and they spoke a he and were the fathers of 
it What lie did they speak 1 They said, verses 39, 
40 " Abraham is our father." They lied ; for, says 
our Lord to them—" if ve were Abraham's children, 
ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye 
seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth 
which I have heard of God : this did not Abraham.^ 
He adds, verse 41, "ye do the deeds of your father. 
What father ? What they had seen or learned from 
their own evil lusts and passions ; and this accords 
with the source from which all evil proceeds, stated by 
James, chap. i. 14, 15. 

We have seen that the principle of evil was not 
only personified but deified. n this passage, and 
others, it is spoken of as a person or being. Lve s 
lust said to her, " ye shall not surely die," which was 
a lie. It is in the passage before us represented as the 
father of lies, and the lusts or desires of this father the 
Jews did. Lust from the beginning abode not in the 
truth, for it was by lust conceiving contrary to the 
commandment, the first deviation from truth was made, 
and the first lie told ; and when lust said " ye shall 
not surely die," it was not only a liar, but the father 
of it. From our mother Eve to the present day, all 
men who listen to the lies of their own lusts, contrary 
to God's commandments, have found that the ways of 
transgressors are hard. Men obeying the voice of 
their lusts, murder themselves, are led to murder 
others, and have turned the world into a Golgotha.— 
But while lust is the true cause of all the mischief, an 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 129 

imaginary being has been invented and believed in to 
bear the blame of it. ' 

In concluding these remarks I would ask every can- 
did man, did our Lord mean to tell the Jews that they 
were of their father, a fallen angel, and that the lusts 
of this fallen angel they would do? And did he mean 
that this fallen angel was a murderer from the begin- 
ning ? That this wicked being abode not in the truth, 
because there is no truth in him? And that "when 
he speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own : for he is a 
liar and the father of it ?' 3 Yes, all this is confidently 
asserted to be our Lord's meaning. But why should 
n be believed, until it is first proved, that an an<rel fell 
irom heaven and became a devil ? The belief of this 
is premature, until it is shown that such a being really 
exists. To say he was a murderer from the beginning 
of the world, and refer to Gen. Hi,, will not do, for we 
have seen that the serpent that deceived Eve was not 
a fallen angel ; nor is such a being once mentioned in 
the Old Testament. Nor will it answer any better to 
refer to Cain's murder of Abel, for not a single hint is 
dropped, that the devil or a fallen angel had any con- 
cern with it. Besides, 'when the Scriptures trace 
crimes to their source in plain language, they never 
refer them to the devil, bat to lust within men, see 
James iv. 1 — 16, and i. 13—16. Matth xv. 18— 21 

1 John iii. 8, 9, 10. « He that committed sin, is 
of the devil ; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. 
*or this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that 
he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever 
*s born of God doth not commit sin ; for his seed re- 
niameth m him : and he cannot sin, because he is born 
of God. In this the children of God are manifest 
and the children of the devil : whosoever doeth not 
righteousness, is not of God, neither he that loveth not 



]30 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

his brother." This, and the preceding passage, were 
written by the same person. The language and sen- 
timent of both are similar, and the quotations and re- 
marks made are applicable to both. We shall, add 
some brief remarks here. John says, u he that com- 
mitted sin is oj the devil." He was writing to Chris- 
tians, who were the children of God by faith in Christ 
Jesus, and could not say to them, as he did to the un- 
believing Jews, " ye are of your father the devil." — 
It appears from verse 7, that he said this to guard 
them against sin. Comp. John viii. 34 and Rom. vj. 

10 23. " For the devil sinnetk from the beginning." 

This corresponds to John viii. 44. " He was a mur- 
derer from the beginning" What devil sinned or 
was a murderer from the beginning? Answer; at 
verse 15, it is said—" whosoever hateth his brother is 
a murderer," and at verse 12, " not as Cain who was 
of that wicked one and slew his brother." Cain, like 
the Jews, was of his father the devil, and the lusts of 
his father he did. But no man will assert that Moses 
intimates a fallen angel influenced Cain to slay Abel. 
If he that hateth his brother is a murderer, Cain was 
one before he slew Abel. It was from this hatred in 
his heart the bloody deed proceeded, and which, in 
the eye of both God and man, constitutes murder.— 
Well, the very first time satan is mentioned in Scrip- 
ture, 'the term is applied to a well, and the explana- 
tion given us in the margin, is hatred. See Sect. m. 
Besides, in Sect, ii, it has been shown, that Eve's lust 
or desire, when it had conceived, brought forth sin : 
and this devil sinned from the beginning. It came to 
be personified, yea, was deified, as we have seen in 
Sections iii., iv , is called satan in the book of Job, 
and devil and satan in other parts of Scripture. This 
view is agreeable to the passage, for it is said — " he, 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 131 

that committed! sin is of the devil." It is added, "for 
this purpose the Son of God ivas manifested, that he 
might destroy the works of the devil" What then 
were the works of the devil ? 

1st. All agree that sin is the work of the devil. — . 
What then produces sin ? James says, chap. i. 15, 
"then, lust when it hath conceived bringeth forth sin." 
Is it not plain that lust is the devil? Compare Mark 
vii. 21, 22. 

2d. Death is also the work of the devil. Death 
entered by sin, and sin entered by lust conceiving and 
bringing it forth ; and when sin is finished it bringeth 
forth death. The wages of sin is death, see Rom. v. 
12, and vi. 23. 

Was the Son of God manifested then to destroy sin ? 
This is expressly declared, verse 5. — "And ye "know- 
that he was manifested to take away our sins ; and in 
him is no sin." We think, that, " to take away our 
sins," in this verse, is the same as to destroy the works 
of the devil in the passage before us ; and in both 
Christ is said to be manifested to do this. Yea, through 
death he destroyed him that had the power of death, 
that is the devil. See on Heb. ii. 14, below. Does 

the Son of God by his manifestation destroy death ? 

Nothing can be more explicitly stated than this. "I 
will ransom them from the power of the grave ; I will 
redeem them from death: O! death, I will be thy 
plagues ; O ! grave, I will be thy destruction : re- 
pentance shall be hid from mine eyes." Hos. xiii. 14. 
See 1 Cor. xv. 53—58. At verse 26, it is expressly 
declared, " the last enemy that shall be destroyed is 
death." Suffer me now to ask — Is it any where said 
Christ was manifested to destroy a fallen angel ? This 
I think no man will affirm. Why then is it so confi- 
dently affirmed that the devil is a fallen angel ? 



132 AN INQUIRY PART I„ 

-Heb. ii. 14, 15. "Forasmuch then as the children 
are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself like- 
wise took part of the same ; that through death he 
might destroy him that had the power of death, that^ 
is the devil ; and deliver them, who through fear of 
death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage." 
Supposing we admit for a moment the existence of 
such a being as the devil, what follows from this pas- 
sage? It follows, that he is to be "destroyed, for it is 
expressly said, Christ died, that " through death he 
might destroy him that bad the power of death, that 
is the devil" But, do our orthodox friends allow, that 
he is to be destroyed through the death of Jesus Christ ? 
No, they aver, that he is to exist forever, the enemy 
of God and the tormentor of men. But if this text 
teaches his existence, it as certainly teaches his de- 
struction. 1 urge then the belief of both, or the re- 
jection of both doctrines. But this is not all, for if 
this text teaches the devil to be a fallen angel, it as 
explicitly declares that he has the power of death.—' 
By the power of death, is generally understood, pow- 
er to produce death, and retain men in this state when 
dead. But is it not a very extraordinary supposition, 
that such a wicked being should have such a power? 
Besides, is it not contrary to other parts of Scripture, 
where God says, « I kill and I make alive ; I bring 
down to the grave and also bring up again." Can 
any one think God has delegated this power to the de- 
vil ? By taking into view other parts of Scripture We 
find death ascribed to a very different cause than the 
power of a fallen angel. Rom. v. 12, and in chap, 
vi. 23, we are told that the wagres of sin is death, but 
not a word is said as if the devil had any concern with 
it. James, chap i. 15, also says, that when " sin is 
finished it bringeth forth death," but says not a word 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 133 

about the devil having any power to produce it, or 
ij continue it. Nor does the apostle say the sting of 
! death is the devil, but the sting of death is sin. Be- 
sides, when speaking of the victory obtained by Jesus 
Christ over death, the apostle does not say — " O ! de- 
vil, where is thy power over death," but says, "O ! 
death, where is thy sting, O ! grave, where is thy vic- 
■ tory ■? The sting of death is sin ; and the strength of 
| sin is the law. But thanks be to God who giveth us 
the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." The 
apostle here renders thanks to God for victory over 
sin, and the law which is the strength of sin, and also 
over death, but renders no thanks to God through Je- 
: sus Christ for victory over a fallen angel or the devil. 
Can any candid man then think, that if such a being 
had power over death, that Paul, in giving thanks to 
God, would have omitted thanking him for victory 
: over this malignant, wicked being, who had so long 1 and 
universally exercised it? We" should rather think, 
had Paul believed this, victory over the devil would 
have been one of the principal things he would have 
mentioned. 

What then, it may be asked, is the devil referred to 
in this passage ? I answer, whatever has the power 
: of death. What then has the power of death ? I an- 
swer, sin and the law the strength of sin, by which 
death came first to be introduced, and by which it hath 
passed through to all the human race. See Rom. v. 
12, 13. The judgment, Gen. hi. 19, was by one to 
condemnation. Death reigned by one man's offence, 
and no power of man has been able to resist his uni- 
versal sway ; and but for the death of Christ, and his 
resurrection from the dead, no hope of a resurrection 
could ever be entertained. 

But let us examine the passage itself a little more 



134 AN INQUIRY— PART I. 

particularly. " Forasmuch then as the children are 
partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise 
took part of the same." Well, for what purpose did 
he take part in flesh and blood? "That through 
death he might destroy him that had the power of 
death, that is the devil." We have shown, on 1 John 
iii, 8, what the ivorks of the devil are, and that Christ 
was manifested to destroy them. But here Christ is 
said to destroy the devil himself. What devil was it 
then which produced such works ? Such is the work- 
manship, but what devil was the workman ? James 
tells us in plain words — " then when lust hath con- 
ceived it bringeth forth sin ; and sin when it is finished 
bringeth forth death," Christ by his death would ac- 
complish very little to the purpose, to destroy a fallen 
angel, or even to destroy sin and death, if lust which 
bringeth forth sin was not destroyed. It would only 
be lfke lopping off the .branches from a poisonous tree, 
while the stock from which they all sprung, was allow- 
ed to remain. But Christ, by his death, is not only 
to destroy sin and death, the works of the devil, but 
lust, or the devil He is not only to destroy the work- 
manship but the workman, not merely the branches 
but the root, not only the streams of sin and death, 
but the fountain from which they have flowed. He is 
to destroy him that had the power of death, that is the 
devil. See Col. i. 20 ; Eph. i. 10 ; 1 Cor. xv. But 
it ought further to be noticed, that, " the strength of 
sin is the law" It is this which makes sin to be what 
it is, for sin is the transgression of the law, and where 
there is no law there is no transgression. The law 
has always said — " the soul that sinneth shall die." — 
The law of Moses entered that the offence might 
abound. It gendered to bondage, and was the minis- 
tration of death. 2 Cor. iii. 7. Comp. Rom. v. 20, 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 135 

21 ; Gal. iv. 24. It could not give life, but cursed 
every One who did not continue in all things written 
in the book of the law to do them. Gal. iii. 21, 10. 
Well, did Christ through death abolish the law ? The 
word which is in this passage rendered destroy, Park- 
hurst says, means, " to render ineffectual, abolish, an- 
nul, destroy." It is the same word which in 2 Cor. 
iii. 7, is rendered done away, and applied to the law 
of Moses, which was done away in Christ : and is 
rendered abolished, Eph. ii. 15, when speaking of this 
very law. It is also rendered abolished, 2 Tim.i. 10, 
where it is said of Christ, "who hath abolished death, 
and hath brought life and immortality to light through 
the gospel." This then is agreeable to the fact. — 
Christ, through death, destroyed or abolished the law, 
which was the strength of sin, and denounced death 
on the transgressor. It had the power of death, and 
might with as much propriety be called the devil or 
accuser as the writing, Ezra iv. 6, was called a satan 
or adversary to the Jews. The law is expressly said 
to have been the accuser of the Jews, John v. 45 — 47. 

But it is added — "and deliver them who, through 
fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage." 
The Jews were kept in bondage under the law. But 
Christ delivers from this bondage, Rom. viii. 15 ; v. 1 ; 
viii. 1 ; and viii. 14. Whoever believes in Christ, is deliv- 
ered not only from the law which is the strength of sin, 
but is led to crucify his flesh with its affections and 
lusts. And he is delivered from the fear of death, by 
the knowledge of life and immortality brought to lia;ht 
by the gospel. Indeed, the ultimate end of the death 
of Christ, is to bring men to a state of incorruption and 
glory. See 1 Cor. xv. 

Acts xiii. 10. "O ! full of all subtilty, and all mis 
chief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all right 



136 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

eousness ; wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways 
of the Lord ?" The quotation from Professor Stuart, 
on John viii. 44 above, equally illustrates this passage. 
The term devil signifies a slanderer. Child of a slan- 
derer, according to Mr. Stuart, signifies " a slanderous 
person," as son of a murderer, means " a murderous 
person." In fact, Paul, verse 8, gives for substance 
this very explanation. "Elymas, the sorcerer with- 
stood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the 
faith." Being full of all subtilty and mischief, he was 
a satan or devil, in opposing and slandering the faith 
of Christ. 

Matth, xiii. 39. " The enemy that sowed them is the 
devil," The whole of this context is considered in the 
Second Part, to which the reader is referred. See Mr. 
Stuart's remarks quoted above on John viii. 44. The 
question then is, did a fallen angel mix those wicked 
children with the children of the kingdom ? This must 
be affirmed, by those who say that the devil is a fallen 
angel. But though this is asserted, we have never seen 
any proof of it, nor will it be easily explained, how such 
a being could do this. Besides, we do not perceive 
what need there was for the services of such a being to 
produce such a crop. What then is meant by the 
devil that sowed the tares ? In the Second Part we 
'have shown, that the tares were the unbelieving Jews, 
who at the end of the world or age were destroyed. — 
Well, what devil sowed them? The same devil or 
satan who put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus. 
No other devil was required to produce a crop of tares 
or wicked men, but the evil principles of their own 
hearts, for they were of their father the devil and the 
lusts of their father they did. See on John viii. 44, 
above. 

Matth. xxv. 41. " Then shall he say also unto them 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 137 

i on the left hand, depart from me ye cursed, into ever- 
| lasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." — 
'. This passage must be noticed in the Second Part, in 
j considering Matth. chaps, xxiv. 25. Here I shall only- 
notice the following things. 1st. It has been proved, 
we think beyond all controversy, that the unbelieving, 
persecuting Jews are repeatedly called the devil and 
satan. 2d. It has also been proved, that the angels or 
messengers of this satan, were the false teachers, or 
those who joined with the persecuting Jews in opposing 
the gospel and persecuting those who preached it. See 
on 2 Cor. xi. 14 and xii. 7, in Section v. See also 
the next Section. As this will not be disputed, let us, 
3d. Notice the everlasting fire which is here said to be 
prepared for the devil and his angels. This everlast- 
ing fire, is not said to have been prepared for those 
whom our Lord is represented as addressing thus— 
" depart from me ye cursed." No ; it is said to have 
been prepared for the persecuting Jews and their angels 
or messengers. What then was this everlasting fire ? 
In my Inquiry into the words Sheol, Hades, Tartarus 
and Gehenna, chap. ii. Sect. iii. the following things 
have been shown at length, to which I refer the reader. 
It has been shown, that fire is a figure used in Scrip- 
ture to express the temporal judgments of God which 
came on the Jews in the destruction of their city and 
temple; that punishment which they have been suffer- 
ing for nearly two thousand years, and are still endu- 
kring. It has also been shown, that the phrase "ever- 
lasting fire," is used as an equivalent expression for 
["hell fire." All these, and other things connected 
j with this subject, have been shown there, and need not 
I be repeated here. See on this also 2 Thess. chap. i. 
• considered in the Second Part of this work. 4th. To 
jwhom did our Lord refer when he said, " depart from 



138 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

me ye cursed" into everlasting fire? The answer to 
this question will be given in considering Matth. chaps. - 
xxiv. xxv. in the Second Part, referred to, which to 
avoid repetition we shall omit here. 

Acts x 38. " God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with 
the Holy Ghost, and with power; who went about 
doin- rrood, and healing all that were oppressed o the 
devU-°for God was with him." Our Lord healed those 
who were possessed with demons, and cast them out : 
but it is no where said that he cast out diabohi, devils ; 
and this is the only place where he is said to have 
healed those who were oppressed of the devil. In 
curino- persons he often commanded the demons to de- 
part from them, yet on no occasion does he ever speak 
to diabolos, the devil, and command him to depart.— 
His temptation in the wilderness may be thought an 
exception to this remark, which will be considered in 
its place. If the devil, a fallen angel, inflicted bodily 
diseases in those days, we can see no good reason why 
he should not in these, for few think his power is con- 
tracted or his malice abated by the lapse of seventeen 
centuries. But who in our day ascribes diseases to the 
devil ? If it is done, it is merely in compliance with 
a popular mode of speaking. The question will then 
be asked— what devil were those persons oppressed 
with, for it is said our Lord healed all who were op- 
pressed of the devil ? In answer to this, let it be ob- 
served, that Peter is here evidently speaking of our 
Lord's kindness in healing men of diseases generally, 
whatever they were. They are spoken of in the ag- 
ereaate, and are called being " oppressed of the devil. 
This is in perfect agreement with what has been stated 
Sections iii. and iv. that satan, the devil, or Ahraman 
was the author of all evil, just as much as the good god 
Yazdan, was the author of all good. That the Jews, 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 139 

had imbibed such an opinion, and used language in ac- 
cordance with it, has been shown. Ascribing all dis- 
eases here to the oppression of the devil, shows that 
Peter spoke in accordance with this popular opinion. 
This our Lord did, in saying, that satan had bound a 
woman eighteen years with an infirmity. Satan is also 
said to have afflicted Job, but it has been shown, that 
this very account is introduced, for the purpose of re- 
futing such an opinion, and establishing that God is the 
author of afflictions as well as of prosperity. 

Eph. iv. 27. "Neither give place to the devil." In 
the preceding verse, the apostle exhorts — " be ye an- 
gry and sin not ; let not the sun go down upon your 
wrath." He immediately adds — " neither give place 
to the devil." What devil ? Evidently wrath ; for 
■ by letting the sun go down upon their wrath, they gave 
place to this devil ; or, it gave occasion to the enemies 
of the gospel to speak reproachfully. It is not easy to 
understand how by anger they gave place to a .fallen 
angel. Besides, men's wrathful passions are ascribed 
to themselves in Scripture. See James iv. I — 6. 

Eph. vi. 11. "Put on the whole armor of God, that 
ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." 
See the whole context. See also all the other texts 
where the enemies of Christianity are called the devil 
and satan. What in this verse is called collectively 
the devil, is thus particularised, verse 12. " For we 
wrestle not against flesh and blood," or, we wrestle not 
merely with men. For this sense of the phrase flesh 
and blood, see the following among other texts, Matth. 
xvi. 17, 1 Cor. xv. 50, Gal. i. 16,' Heb. ii. 14. "But 
against principalities;' or supreme governors. For 
this sense of the word principalities, see Rom.viii.38, 
Tit. hi. 1. " Against poivers" or, against magistrates 
clothed with authority. See for this sense of the word 



140 AN INQUIRY PART Is 

powers, Rom. xiii. 1—3. It seems to include supreme 
rulers both civil and ecclesiastical. See Luke xii. 11. 
Col. i. 16, Eph. i. 21, Col. ii. 10, Luke xx. 20. 
" Against the rulers of the darkness of this world." 
Wakefield renders the passage thus—" Clothe your- 
selves in the whole armor of God, that ye may be able 
to stand against the devices of the accuser. For we 
not only have to wrestle against flesh and bloou, but 
against authority, against the powers, against the rulers-, 
of this dark age', against the wickedness of spiritual 
men in a heavenly dispensation." In his note he says, 
" viz. against Jewish governors, who have a dispen- 
sation of religion from heaven, as well as against hea- 
then magistrates, under the darkness of superstition and 
idolatry/' By the rulers of the darkness of this world, 
Dodiidge understands the " heathen rultrsj and by 
flesh and blood the lower ranks of mankind." These 
remarks are a sufficient illustration of this passage. If 
it is asked— What darkness did the apostle refer to? I 
answer, the ignorance, superstition, and wickedness 
which abounded both among the Jews and Gentiles. 
Comp. Luke xxii. 53, Col. i. 13. It is well known, 
that principalities and powers, both civil and ecclesi- 
astical, Jewish and heathen, were opposed to the 
gospel. They were the rulers of this darkness, and 
the people were often excited against Christianity by 
the prevailing ignorance and popular superstitions. See 
Acts xix. For the Scripture usage of the words spirit- 
ual and high or heavenly places, compare Rom. xy. 
27, 1 Cor. ix. 11, 1 Peter ii. 5, Col. iii. 16, John in. 
12', Eph. i. 20 and iii. 10. A phrase, the reverse of 
the entire expression, "spiritual wickedness in high 
places," occurs Eph. i. 3, and assists in explaining it. 
But, let any one go over this passage, and see if he can 
give any thing like a rational interpretation of it, on the 



AN INQUIRY— PART U 141 

supposition that the devil referred to was a fallen 
angel ? 

1 Tim. iii. 6, 7. " Not a novice, lest being lifted up 
with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 
Moreover, he must have a good report of them which 
are without ; lest he fall into reproach, and the snare 
of the devil." What devil does the apostle refer to ? 
In answer to this let us hear the following writers.— 
Wakefield renders the passage thus—" No novice • lest 
he be puffed up, and so fall into flame from the accuser. 
He ought also to have good testimony from without ; 
lest he fall into reproach, and a snare of the accuser."' 

See a similar rendering in the Improved Version. 

M'Knight, on this passage, says—" According to Eras- 
mus, this clause should be translated, 'fall into the 
condemnation of the accuser? A sense which the word 
diaboloshnth, verse 1 1. For he supposes tnat by the 
accuser is meant, the persecuting Jews and Gentiles, 
who were ready to condemn the Christians for every 
misdemeanor." See remarks on the next passage. 

2 Tim. ii. 24, 25, 26. " And the servant of the 
Lord must not strive ; but be gentle unto all men, apt 
to teach, patient. In meekness instructing those that 
oppose themselves; if God, peradventure, will give 
them repentance, to the acknowledging of the truth: 
and that they may recover themselves out of the snare 
of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will." 
The principal question to be considered here is — What 
is the snare of the devil ? In the preceding text, some 
were in danger of falling into it, and here" we read of 
some being in it, and needing to be recovered out of it. 
They are described as persons who have not repented, 
who have not acknowledged the truth, but are opposing 
themselves to it. The servant of the Lord, in attempt- 
ing their recovery, must not strive, but be gentle unto 
10 



142 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

all men. He roust be apt to teach ; be must be pa- 
tient ; and in meekness he must instruct those in the 
snare of the devil, or those who oppose themselves, who 
have not repented and acknowledged the truth. It 
should seem then, that both from the situation of those 
persons, and also the way in which they are delivered, 
the snare of the devil is their opposition to the gospel, 
and the various ways and means by which Us enemies 
prevented men from believing it. M'Kmght says— 
« The snare of the devil, out of which the opposers ol 
the rospel are to be taken alive by the servant of the 
Lord, signifies those prejudices, and errors, and habits 
of sensuality, which hindered both Jews and Gentiles 
in the first age from attending to the evidences of the 
gospel " In this view the snare of the devil is stated, 
Col i 13, Rom. vi. 17, and their recovery out of it, 
Actsxxvi. 18, and many other similar passages. 

James iv 7. " Submit yourselves therefore to Uod. 
Resist the devil and he will flee from you." The pre- 
ceding verses point out this devil to be envy and pride, 
or their evil lusts and passions. Comp.chap. m. lb, 
16 and i 13 That men's lusts and passions are called 
the devil and satan in other passages has been shown. 
Instead of indulging these, we are called to resist them. 
Comp. verse 8. It is easily understood how we can 
resist such a devil as this ; but we have no clear ideas 
on the subject, to understand it of an invisible fallen 
ancrel The terms devil and satan, being used to de- 
signate men's evil lusts and passions, appear to be the 
foundation of all the other senses in which those terms 
are used in Scripture. It was Judas' evil lusts, which 
made him a devil, and on this account these terms are 
used to designate the enemies of the gospel. In short, 
it is such evil lusts and passions, which make men sa- 
faris or devils. Accordingly, it is difficult to decide in 



AN INQUIRY PART I, 143 

some texts, to which these terms are applied. Nor is 
it of importance to decide ; hence, in some texts, we 
have given both views as agreeable to the Scripture 
usage of these terms. 

Jude 9. « Yet Michael, the archangel, when con- 
tending with the devil (he disputed about the body of 
Moses) durst not bring against him a railing accusation, 
but said, the Lord rebuke thee." Whitby, in his pre- 
face to Jude, quoting from Dr. Lightfoot, says. "In 
citing the story of Michael, the archangel, contending 
with the devil about the body of Moses, verse 9, he 
doth but the same that Paul doth, in naming Jan'nes 
and Jambres, 2 Tim. iii. 8, namely, allege a story 
which was current, and owned among that nation, 
though there was no such thing in Scripture ; and so 
he argueth with them, from their own authors and con- 
cessions : for among the Talmudists, there seems to be 
something like the relics of such a matter, viz. of Mi- 
chael and the angel of death, disputing, or discoursing 
about fetching away the soul of Moses." Jude here, 
then, reasons with the persons he addresses, on a re- 
ceived story among them, for the purpose of refuting 
their wicked conduct in speaking evil of dignities. In 
this, he acted as our Lord did, in reasoning on the 
popular opinion, that satan had bound a woman eigh- 
teen years, for the purpose of refuting his adversaries. 
But the truth of this story is no more admitted in the 
one case, than the correctness of the opinion is in the 
other. Both are introduced merely for the sake of ar- 
gument, without any regard to their truth or falsehood. 
This story about Michael and the devil must have been 
invented about the time of the Babylonish captivity or 
soon after it. Before the captivity we never read of 
angels having names. Nor before the captivity, does it 
appear, that the Jews knew any thing about a fallen 



144 AN INQUIRY— PART I. 

called the devil and satan. Besides, the words which 
Michael used in dispute with the devil,* the Lord re- 
buke thee," are taken from Zachanah in. 2, and it is 
well known that Zachanah prophesied during the cap- 
tivity See on this passage Sect. m. The following 
quotation from Jahn, not only shows us, that similar 
opinions to that in the passage before us existed among 
the Jews, but when and how they came to adopt them. 
He says, pages 235-6 : » The more recent Hebrews, 
fdh ring L'strictly to the letter of theirScnptures ex- 
ercised their ingenuity, and put in requisition their faith, 
to furnish the monarch Death with a subordinate agent 
or angel, viz. the prince of bad spirits , ho dmbolos 
oherwise called Sammael, and also Ashmedai, and 
known in the New Testament by the phrases, the 
Wince of this world, the tempter, who hath the power 
of death. The Hebrews, accordingly in enumerating 
the attributes and offices of the prime minister of the 
terrific king of Hades, represent him as in the habit ot 
making his appearance in the presence of God, and 
demanding at the hand of the Divinity the extinction 
in any given instance, of human life. Haying obtain- 
ed permission to that effect, he does not fail ol making 
a prompt exhibition of himself to the sick ; he then 
"ives them drops of poison, which they drink and die. 
Comp John xiv. 30, Hebrews ii. 14. Hence origi- 
nal phrases, "to taste of death," and « to dnnk 
the cup of death," which are found also among the 
Syrians, Arabians, and Persians, Matthew xvi. 28, 
Sark ii 1, Luke ix. 27, John vih. 52 Hebrews 11 
q» It appears from this quotation, that the more 
recent Hebrews," furnished death with an ange , the 
^e of bad spirits. But the ancient Hebrews k new 
nothing about such a being; and where could the 
more recent Hebrews" imbibe such opinions but during 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 145 

their captivity, and from their intercourse with the hea- 
then ?^ See Section iv. Jahn allows, that "adhering 
too strictly to the letter of their Scriptures," they "ex- 
ercised their ingenuity" to get their Scriptures to favor 
such opinions. Christians have imbibed the Jewish 
opinions, and have exercised like ingenuity to find proof 
for them in the New Testament. 

Rev. ii. 10. "Fear none of those things which 
thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of 
you into prison, that ye may be tried ; and ye shall 
have tribulation ten days ; be thou faithful unto death, 
and J will give thee a crown of life." It will not be 
questioned, that what John calls satan, verses 9, 13, 
24, and chap. iii. 9, he here calls the devil. See re- 
marks on all these passages, Section v., which are here 
sufficient for an illustration. Suffer me to ask, does 
any one believe that the devil, a fallen angel, ever cast 
Christians into prison ? No ; but the adversaries of 
Christianity, then and since, have often done this. It 
will not answer to say, the devil, a fallen angel, influ- 
enced the enemies of the gospel to cast Christians into 
prison, for this is just taking for granted the point in 
question. But, are our orthodox brethren aware, that 
their faith in the devil influencing men to sin, militates 
against the doctrine of total depravity? What need 
is there of such a being's assistance ? Total depravi- 
ty is sufficient without him to produce all manner of 
wickedness. If men would be less wicked, without 
the devil's influence, then they are not so bad but he 
can make them worse: and who can tell but they 
might all be very good if he would only let them 
alone? Mankind are wicked enough, but all their 
wickedness arises from a different source. "From 
whence come wars and fightings ? Come they not 



\4& AN INQUIRY-— PART I* 

hence of your lusts which war in your members ?" Is 
the assistance of a fallen angel required to produce 
them ? But the reader may pursue these reflections 
at his leisure. 



SECTION VII. 

ALL THE PASSAGES CONSIDERED, IN WHICH THE TERMS 
DEVIL AND SATAN ARE USED SYNONYMOUSLY. 

The first passages which present themselves for our 
consideration are°Matth. iv. 1—12; Mark i. 12, 13 7 
and Luke iv. 1 — 14, containing an account of our 
Lord's temptation. The reader will please turn to 
them and read them. Most religious people interpret 
this account literally. But concerning a literal inter- 
pretation, Essenus thus writes, pp. 1 17 — 120. " The 
history of our Lord's temptation is commonly under-, 
stood in a literal sense. Satan is supposed to be a 
real being ; to have actually appeared and conversed 
with our Saviour. Having taken him up through the 
air to the top of the temple, and thence to some high 
mountain, he tempted him in the manner represented 
in the narrative. This interpretation is loaded not 
only with difficulties, but even with absurdities shock- 
ing to common sense. The learned Mr. Farmer has 
examined the question; and his objections to the lite- 
ral translation are so numerous and decisive, that no 
thinking person can accede to it, without abandoning 
the firsthand most obvious principle of reason, and the 
tenor of the gospel. ' Why the devil at all assaulted 
our Lord, and what advantage he could possibly gain 



AN INQUIRY— PART I* 147 

ever him, has, he observes, always been acknow- 
ledged to be a great difficulty, by" the advocates of 
the common interpretation.' But this difficulty is in- 
creased by the manner the devil proposed his tempta- 
tion to our Lord. For he came to him in person, and 
urges temptations such as could proceed only from an 
evil being. Now with what prospect of success could 
he tempt our Lord, if he thus exposed himself to open 
view ? By a personal and undisguised appearance, he 
can never hope to prevail over the feeblest virtues, 
much less could he expect the illustrious person, 
whom he knew to be the Son of God, and who knew 
him to be the devil, to comply with his temptations. 

" In the first temptation, in which Jesus is solicited 
to turn stones into bread, nothing is promised on the 
part of satan to gain his consent ; the request of an 
implacable enemy, when no advantage attends it, be- 
ing in itself a reason for rejecting it. But satan de- 
feats his own temptation by asking an useless favor. 

" While the foe betrays great folly in the first temp- 
tation, he supposes Christ to be actuated by still great- 
er in the second. The people, on seeing Jesus throw- 
ing, himself from the top of the temple, might conclude 
that he was the Son of God. But he knew that the 
tempter had it in his power to lead them to draw the 
same conclusion of himself. Satan also would throw 
himself down unhurt; and his miraculous preservation 
would prove him, as well as Jesus, to be the Son of 
God. Nay, he might claim the superiority ; for it was 
a greater exertion of« power to convey him from the 
wilderness to the top of the temple, than in sustaining 
his fall to the court below. What inducement, then, 
could Christ have for a compliance with the proposal 
suggested ? Would he be disposed to gratify satan, 
by doing an act at his mere suggestion ? Was he to 



148 AN INQUIRY-^-PART I. 

acquire any glory, or advantage to himself? No ; on 
the contrary, he would only have incurred the infamy 
of having entered the lists with the devil, without hav- 
ing acquired any superiority over him. 

°" With regard to the third temptation, the Son of 
God knew that the father of lies had not the empire 
of the world at his disposal, and that he therefore 
promised what he had not power to perform. Such 
a promise was rather an insult than a temptation, and 
was calculated only to provoke scorn or resentment. 
Could the devil "then hope by such contemptuous 
treatment, to engage the Son of God to listen to his 
accursed counsels ; and to seduce him to an act of the 
highest dishonor to his heavenly Father, that of pay- 
ing divine homage to this infernal spirit ? _ This inter- 
pretation represents the old serpent as acting quite out 
of character, and supposes him to be as void of policy 
as he is of goodness ; inasmuch as he used the least 
art in proposing temptations, where the greatest would 
have been insufficient to insure success. 

" The common opinion further ascribes to satan the 
greatest miracles. It supposes that the devil, by na- 
ture a spiritual and invisible agent, has a power of as- 
suming at pleasure a corporeal or invisible form, and 
of speaking with an audible voice ; though there is no 
more around from experience, (our sole instructor in 
the established law of nature,) to ascribe this power 
to the devil, than to ascribe life to the inanimate, or 
speech to the brute creation. 

" It is a still greater objection to the common opin- 
ion, that it ascribes to the devil the performance of 
things, not only preternatural, but absurb and lm possi- 
ble. to Such we must reckon, his showing Christ all the 
kino-doms of the world from an exceedingly high moun- 
tain ; for the earth being a spheroidical figure, what 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 149 

single mountain can command a view of all the parts 
of it, or those in particular which are opposite to each 
other? The sun itself, at its immense height above 
the loftiest mountains cf our globe, commands and en- 
lightens, at once, only a single hemisphere. Could 
the devil, then, from one point of view, show Christ 
not only the entire circumference of the globe, but 
also whatever constitutes the glory and grandeur cf its 
kingdoms ; and show him such infinitely numerous ob- 
jects, in situations so distant and so opposite, not gradu- 
al!} and successively, but in one and the same jnstant 
of time ? This does not seem so properly a miracle, 
as an absurdity and contradiction." 

The question will now be asked — If our Lord was 
not literally tempted of the devil, a fallen angel, how 
is this account to be understood ? Before directly an- 
swering this question, we shall make some general re- 
marks on it, in connexion with its context. The fol- 
lowing things then appear obvious : — It is evident, 
that our Lord's temptation took place immediately af- 
ter the descent of the Koly Spirit upon him, and just 
before he entered on his public ministry. His temp- 
tation was passing trial for the work given him to do, 
and in which he was about to engage. Again ; it is 
equally obvious, that the tempter did not lead our 
Lord out into the wilderness for the purpose of tempt- 
ing him, but on the contrary, he was led out there by 
the Spirit of God, to be tempted of the devil. See 
Matth. iii. 16; iv. 1, and Luke iv. I, compared with 
verse 14. Again ; all will allow, that " devil, satan," 
and " the tempter," are used as synonymous terms. 
Nor is it less apparent, that our Lord's temptation is 
related by all the three historians, without any suspi- 
cion on their part that it was to be misunderstood. — 
They use the terms devil, wilderness, satan, Spirit of 



150 AN INQUIRY— PART U 

God, and tempter, as what would be alike easily un- 
derstood by their readers. But again ; it is taken for 
granted in this account, and is plain from many other 
parts of Scripture, that our Lord was susceptible ot 
temptation. To deny this, is to say Jesus was not a 
partaker in flesh and blood with the children, Heb. ii« 
14, that he was not tempted, for without such things 
we may as well speak of tempting a tree or a stone. 
But he suffered being tempted, and is able to succour 
them that are tempted, Heb. ii. 15. He was hungry, 
and thirsty, and weary, as we are : he was sorrowful, 
and joyful, felt pain and enjoyed ease. Tn short, he 
was pleased and angry, Mark iii. 5, was grateful for 
kindness, and felt an insult, as could be shown, if it 
were necessary. Many good people seem to forget; 
that sin does not consist in having such appetites and; 
passions, but in their indulgence in a way and to an; 
extent, which God has prohibited- They only render 
their possessor susceptible of sinning. Jesus was m 
all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.— 
Heb. iv. 16. I may just add, that the tempter: here 
mentioned, like the tempter which deceived Eve, pro- 
fessed to be our Lord's friend, and that listening H 
the proposals made would be for his advantage. TM 
is apparent from comparing the two accounts. With 
these general remarks in view, let us attend to the 

1st Temptation of our Lord. " And when he hac 
fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterwardsi 
an hungered. And when the tempter came to him 
he saidjif thou art the Son of God command tha 
these stones be made bread." To fast, in Scriptun 
language, does not always mean total abstinence frorr 
food during the period persons are said to fast, bu 
using a less quantity, and coarser kind of food. Se^ 
the book of Daniel, and other passages. When it i; 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 151 

said, Luke iv. 2, that our Lord " did eat nothing" 
during - forty days, seems, from comparing Acts xxvii. 
33, to mean nothing more than that he had no regular 
meals. Without a miracle, he could not have lived 
forty days entirely without food, and no miracle is 
supposed to have been wrought to sustain him. Nor 
is it easily perceived, why it would have been sin to 
turn stones to bread, yet no sin to work a miracle to 
support nature without food. Our Lord might have 
been said to have fasted forty days, by eating only of 
such food as was furnished him by the fields. It is 
evident that his fasting gave rise to the first tempta- 
tion. What tempter came to him ? What other but 
his hunger ? No other tempter in this case was ne- 
cessary. Unless our Lord was sustained by a mira- 
cle, he must have felt the sensations of hunger before 
they were ended, but it was not until then that his ap- 
petite became clamorous for food, and tempted him, 
bv suggesting " command that these stones be made 

J DO O 

bread." What said this? Was it not the craving of 
his bodily appetite for food? It suggested a miracle 
to be wrought. It has suggested to many since, to 
steal to satisfy its eravings, and God, who remembers 
that we are dust, has sometimes interposed by miracle 
to satisfy it. Even " men do not despise a thief, if 
he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry." Prov. 
vi. 30. Comp. verse 31. There are some points of 
similarity, and dissimilarity, between Eve's temptation 
and that of our Lord's, which deserve to be noticed. 
For example ; bodily appetite was the tempter in both 
sases, and in both a dialogue between them and their 
appetite is represented as having taken place. But 
notice, when Eve lusted after the fruit, she had all the 
other trees from which to supply her necessities. Her 
appetite did not become a tempter to her from want, 



152 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

but took occasion from the restraint which God had 
laid on it, in prohibiting the use of one tree of the 
garden. She listened to the voice of her appetite and 
sinned. But our Lord's appetite became a tempter to 
him from want of food, and attempted to seduce him 
to work a miracle for a supply. But he repelled the 
temptation by saying, verse 4, "It is written, man 
shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that 
proceedeth out of the mouth of God." It was no sin 
in Eve or our Lord to have the appetite, or to gratify 
it. It became sin in Eve to gratify her appetite from 
that which God had prohibited. It would have been 
sin in Jesus, to have wrought a miracle to gratify hisi 
appetite, for his divine power was not given him for 
this purpose, but to establish his mission as the Sa- 
viour of the World. To have complied with the 
temptation would have shown his walnt of trust, in 
God, and been an improper exercise of his power for} 
his own personal gratification. To say that our Lord] 
was hungry, yet felt no inclination to enjoy food, is ini 
other words telling us that he was not hungry, and de-i 
nying that this was any temptation. But feeling allj 
the painful sensations of hunger, and having power to| 
turn stones to bread, yet resisting the suggestion, could 
only be done by him who was manifested to destroy! 
the works of the devil, or evil desire. 

2d. Our Lord's second temptation is related verse 

5 8. " Then the devil taketh him up into the holy 

city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and 
saith unto him, if thou be the Son of God, castthyser, 
down : for it is written, he shall give his angels charge: 
concerning thee : and in their hands they shah beai ; 
thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against i 
stone." What tempter now assailed our Lord ? Ir 
order to answer this question several things must b< 



AN INQ.UIRV PART 1. 153 

noticed. The scene of this temptation is not laid in 
the wilderness, but in Jerusalem, and at the temple, 
where all the tribes of Israel assembled to worship. — 
Further, the Jews at that time were not only in high 
expectation of Messiah's appearance, but they expect- 
ed him to come in a miraculous way for their deliv- 
erance and glory. The scene is laid at the place suited 
to the nature of the temptation. On the other hand, 
our Lord was just about to enter on the work given him 
to do. Unless we say that he was ignorant and stoical, 
we must allow him to feel sensibly, in view of the suf- 
ferings which awaited him. In fact, if we admit that 
he foresaw what afterwards took place, and was not 
deeply affected by the prospect, yea, wished if possible 
to avoid it, we must believe him destitute of the com- 
mon feelings and sinless frailties of our nature. If after 
he had learned obedience by the things which he suf- 
fered, he said, " Father let this cup pass from me," can 
any man think, that nature would not say the same, 
yea, suggest some mode of escaping them, when he sur- 
veyed the whole scene of suffering at the commence- 
ment ? To deny this, is to deny that our Lord was a 
man, and a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. 
Yea, to deny that our Lord possessed the fine feelings 
and tender sensibilities which so conspicuously shown 
in him. It is in fact saying, our Lord was totally un- 
concerned about the success of his future ministry 
among the Jews, that he had no desire that they should 
receive him as the true Messiah, and that no reflections 
passed through his mind respecting the best manner in 
which he might gain the attention and affections of his 
nation. What then was the tempter? It was flesh 
and blood suggesting the propriety of accommodating 
himself to the prevailing opinions and expectations of . 
the Jews to secure his success: or, their prevailing ex* 



154 AN INQUIRY PART 1 

pectations and opinions, presented themselves to his 
mind, pointed out a course, which, if pursued, he would 
avoid all opposition from them, and be received as their 
Messiah. What was this ? The Jews expected their 
Messiah to come from heaven, or in a miraculous man- 
ner among them. This is generally admitted. It was 
suggested, cast thyself down from the pinnacle of the 
temple among them, while at worship in the court be- 
low ; seeing you fall from such a stupendous height un- 
hurt, they will immediately receive you as the Messiah, 
and invest you with all the honors, powers, and emolu- 
ments of the Jewish church. If, or rather, since thou 
art the son of God, there can be no danger, " for it is 
written, He shall give his angels charge concerning 
thee ; and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest 
at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone." But 
our Lord did not listen to flesh and blood, reasoning on 
the principles of accommodation, but repelled the temp- 
tation by saying — " it is written, again, thou shalt not 
tempt the Lord thy God." A compliance with it would 
have been presumption, a perversion of Scripture in 
justification of it, and doing evil that good might come. 
It would have been sacrificing truth at the shrine of 
prejudice and popular opinion, and shrinking from trials 
and sufferings through which he must pass, if he would 
accomplish the end of his mission. It behoved Christ 
to suffer, Luke xxiv. 46, 

3d. The third temptation is stated in verses 8, 9. — 
" Again the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high 
mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the 
y world and the glory of them ; and saith unto him, all 
these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and 
worship me." What devil now tempted our Lord ? It 
was certainly that which said to him, if thou wilt fall 
down and worship me ; and which said, Luke iv. 6. 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 155 

" All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them : 
for that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I 
will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all 
shall be thine." Well, allow me to ask, had a fallen 
angel all these things at his disposal ? Could he con- 
fer all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them ? 
No man will say so ; nor does our Lord call him a liar 
or deceiver, in promising such things. What then 
promised, and could confer all these things on our 
Lord ? [ answer ; in the clays of our Lord the power 
of the Romans had subdued all the then known world. 
To whomsoever they would they gave its kingdoms and 
the glory of them. This was done by the force of arms. 
If our Lord would then faake his extraordinary power 
the means of propagating his kingdom, he might raise 
himself to the head of the Roman Empire, or become 
master of the whole world. The tempter was then, the 
glory and grandeur of the world presented to the Sa- 
viour's mind, to excite his ambition to use his power in 
raising himself to universal empire. But this tempta- 
tion he repelled by saying—" get thee hence satan (or 
adversary) for it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord 
thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." It is added, 
that satan departed from him for a season, which inti- 
mates that our Lord was assailed with similar tempta- 
tions afterwards. But was he ever tempted afterwards 
by a fallen angel or evil spirit ? Nothing of the kind 
appears, but he was certainly tempted afterwards with 
| like temptations to those I have mentioned. In short, 
these three temptations are, for substance, all the va- 
rious temptations with which our Lord was assailed du- 
ring his ministry. Indeed, they comprise all that is in 
the world, which prove tempters to mankind. " The 
lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride 
oflife," 1 John ii. 16. Was not our Lord, during his 



156 AN INQUIRY — 'PART I. 

ministry, repeatedly hungry, and under temptation to 
supply his wants by his divine power? Certainly he 
was, but we find he always resisted such a temptation, 
and trusted in God for food, in the ordinary course of 
Providence, Again, was he not under strong tempta- 
tions to sacrifice truth and duty to the prejudices and 
opinions of the Jews, in order to his ministry being 
useful among them ? No one will deny this. But, do 
we ever find him making sinful compliances with them, 
to induce them to receive him as their Messiah ? No, 
he was deaf to all such temptations and allurements. 
Again, during his ministry, he had temptations present- 
ed to him to raise himself to a throne, yea, to the em-j 
pire of the world. The people seeing his power, on 
one occasion would have come by force to make him a 
king. But, did he encourage them, or avail himself of 
this, to raise himself to honor and glory? All know, 
the reverse of this was the case. He was likewise ac- 
cused of making himself a king, But he repelled the! 
charge by saying his kingdom was not of this world. — 
All these temptations our Lord encountered during hisj 
ministry, but was more than a match for them all. He 
suffered being tempted, that he might know how to! 
succor them that are tempted, to turn aside from truth 
and duty in his service by similar allurements. But 
alas ! how many " Vicars of Bray" have professed to 
be his servants, who have counted gain godliness, and 
sacrificed every thing for the honor, the power, and the 
wealth of the world. 

Such are my views of our Lord's temptation, but 
my limits forbid entering more minutely into a detail 
of the evidence whereby they might be supported. It 
is easily perceived, that these views are in accordance 
with the meaning of the terms devil and satan, as used 
in other parts of Scripture, and agree to the tempter 



AN INQUIRY—PART I. J 57 

which tempts men every day. But to understand a 
fallen angel designated by these terms, is not supported 
by other parts of Scripture, and involves this account 
in absurdities and utter impossibilities. 

Mark iv. 15. « And these are they by the wayside, 
Where the word is sown ; but when they have heard' 
satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word 
that was sown in their hearts." By comparing Luke 
vni. 12, the devil is said to do this, and in Matth. xiii. 
19, it is said to be done by " the wicked one," or 
rather " the wicked," lor one is in italic. What satan, 
devil, or wicked one, then took away the seed of the 
word sown in men's hearts ? It has been shown, that 
the terms devil and satan, are often used to designate 
the Jews, the adversaries of our Lord and his doctrine. 
That they were wicked persons no one questions. It 
is then agreeable to the fact, that as soon as our Lord 
sowed the good seed of the word they were ready to 
prevent its salutary effects on the minds of his hearers, 
by contradicting and blaspheming it. Every scheme 
was devised by them to excite popular prejudice against 
our Lord and his doctrine. No assistance from a fallen 
angel was needed in this case, for we are told such 
hearers of the word did not understand it. What is 
not understood and believed, is little regarded, soon for- 
gotten, and easily parted with ; and especially if public 
prejudice be against it. If we were even to say, men's 
evil lusts and passions were the devil and satan that 
took away the seed of the word from their minds it 
would be in agreement with the Scripture usage of these 
terms. How the seed could be taken away by means 
of either of these, is easily understood, but how it could 
be removed by a fallen angel is to me inexplicable.— 
Let it be remembered that it is no where said that such 



15 g AN INQUIRY— PAKT I. 

a bein* made use of them as his tools to accomplish 
this See quotations from Jahn, above. 

Rev xii 9 "And the great dragon was cast out, 
that" old Serpent, called the devil, and satan, which de- 
ceive* the whole world : he was cast out in to the 
earth and his angels were ca* out with hum' See 
vers- 10,11, 12, yea, the whole chapter. Again, it 
s said Rev xx. 1, % " And I saw an angel come 
down from heaven, having the key of *e bottomless 
pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold 
t'Z dragoon, that old serpent, which is the devi ,an 
satan and bound him a thousand years bee me 
vnole chapter. In these two passages, we have John , 
authority or saving, that the great dragon old serpent 
devtsatan, and accuser of the brethren all mean the 
same thin-' This thing, or being, is also said to de 
ceive « the whole world." It is from these two pass* 
ees chiefly, that people conclude that the serpent wncl 
dieted Eve was a fallen angel, for here, say they 
?<th devil and satan is called that old serpent and w 
know that the devil is a fallen angel And how d 
they know all this so clearly and confidently ? The, 
fathers, their catechisms, and their ministers have toW 
hem so : and this conclusion is drawn too from a bool 
so highly figurative, that no man has hitherto been ab 
satisfactorily to explain it. Notwithstanding this 
frankly owned by every candid man yet from tins ve, 
book L strongest proofs are generally adduced for 
personal devil, and eternal punishment We ^oU 
respectfully ask our orthodox brethren, why they alld 
he book of Revelations to be highly figurative or syr 
bolical, yet give a literal interpretation to die abo 
parages" concerning the serpent, devil, and satan ? 1 
Would affectionately press it on the.r attention, w 
they interpret the parts of these passages concern! 



AN INQUIRY PART I. J 59 

the devil and satan literally, and yet would refuse to go 
through with a literal interpretation of them J I shall 
give a specimen of the absurdities which such a literal 
interpretation involves. It must then be believed, that 
the devil has seven heads and ten horns, and seven 
crowns on his heads. And it must be believed, that 
Michael and his angels, had a battle with the devil and 
!B angels, and that it was fought in heaven. Besides 
w orthodox friends ought to inform us, how the devil 
m back to heaven to fight this battle there, seeing thev 
Sieved he fell from heaven before he tempted Eve 
-n short, he has been in heaven and fallen from it a 
mmber of times, if such principles of Scripture inter- 
pretation are admitted. He fell from heaven before 
^ves temptation. He fell again when the Seventy 
>'ere out preaching. And John in the above chapters 
» forms us that he was cast out of heaven to the earth 

EH aT r^/ LuClfer be the devil > he ^ S at 
ast had four falls from heaven, for it is said, how art 

hou fallen from heaven, Lucifer, son of the morning 
Is it then asked, what this great dragon, that old ser- 
ent, the devil and satan was ? Dr. Newton says, vol. iii. 
?o~l69, speaking of this dragon— « We find the 
mgs and people of Egypt, who were the great perse- 
cutors of the primitive church of Israel, distinguished by 
us title ,n several places of the Old Testament : Psalm 
:xiv. 13 ; Isa,. li. 9 ; Ezek. xxix. 3, and with as much 
*son and propriety may the people and emperors of ■ 
15 * f h ° p 7 ere , lhe P?« persecutors of the primitive 
lurch of Chmt be called by the same name as they 
•e actuated by the same principle. For that the Ro"- 
an Empire was here figured, the characters and attri- 
ites of the dragon plainly evince." See the pa^es 
iierred to. F a s^ 

Such are his remarks on the first of these passages, 



160 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

On the second he says, " After the destruction of the 
beast and of the false prophet, there still remains ' the 
dragon,' who had delegated his power to them, ' that 
old serpent, which is the devil and satan :' but he is 
bound by ' an angel,' an especial minister of Provi- 
dence ; and the famous millennium commences, or the 
reign of the saints upon earth for a thousand years, 

ver'se i 6. 'Binding him with a great chain, casting 

him into the bottomless pit, shutting him up, and set 
ting a seal upon him,' are strong figures to show th< 
strict and severe restraint which he should be, laid under 
< that he might deceive the nations no more,' during thi 
whole period. Wickedness being restrained,^ reigi 
of righteousness succeeds, and the administration of jus 
tice and judgment is given to the saints of the M» 
High." p. 205. ; 

He adds, page 215. "At the expiration of the thou, 
sand years, verses 7—10, the restraint shall be take 
off from wickedness, and for ' a little season' as.it wa, 
said before, verse 3, ' satan shall be loosed out of h 
prison,' and make one effort more to re-establish h 
kingdom. As he deceived our first parents in tb 
paradisaical state, so he shall have the artifice < to d< 
ceive the nations' in this millennial kingdom, to sho 
that no state or condition upon earth is exempted an, 
secured from sinning." I would only add, that it . ; 
lust or evil desire " ivhich deceiveth the whole world 
and has been the source of its wars and bloodshe 
James iv. 1 — 4. This is the universal deceiver. 

We have now finished our investigation of all til 
texts in the Bible, where the terms devil and satan § 
used. Having expressed our own views of the diffei 
ent passages, we leave the candid reader to form \ 
own opinions, and make his own reflections on tl 
subject. 



AN INQUIRY PART L. \Ql 



SECTION VIIL 

ALL THE TEXTS CONSIDERED, WHERE THE DEVIL IS 
SUPPOSED TO BE CALLED THE EVIL ONE THE 
TEMPTER, THE GREAT DRAGON, THE SERPENT, AND 
OLD SERPENT, THE PRINCE OF THIS WORLD THE 
PRINCE OF THE POWER OF THE AIR, AND THE GOD 
OF THIS WORLD. 

These names, given to the devil, a supposed fallen 
tagel, will require but a brief consideration, for some of 
hem have been introduced in the preceding sections. 
Indeed, if devil and satan designate no such being in 
.he Bible, it will be allowed by most people, that he is 
lot to be found in the Bible. But we shall not take 
his for granted. The devil is then 

1st. Supposed to be called o' po?ieros, the evil one, 
>r, the wicked one. This word is rendered in the com- 
mon version, evil, wicked, wickedness, harm, &e. The 
'acred writers use it to express evil or wickedness in a 
Variety of ways. Such as evil or unclean spirits, Matth. 
\n. 45 ; Acts xix. 12, 13, 15, 16 ; Luke vii. 21 ; viii. 
I, and xi. 26. An evil or unclean spirit is the same 
's an evil or .unclean demon, and have no connexion 
Ath our present subject. This word is used to express 
aoral evil, Matth. v. 37 ; 1 Thess. v. 22; 2Thess. iii. 
i ; John xvii. 15 ; Physical evil, Acts xxviii. 21 ; Rev 
m 2 ; Matth. v. 39. The day of persecution is 
ailed the evil day, Eph. vi. 13. The heart of man, 
•om whence all evil proceeds, is called " an evil heart 
f unbelief," HeL iii. 12. Out of this source proceed 






162 AN INQfJlRY PART 1. 

evil thoughts, Matth. ix. 4 ; Luke xi. 29 ; James it. 

4 ; Matth. xii. 35 ; Luke vi. 45. Also, wicked and I 
malicious words, 3 John 10; Matth. v. II ; Luke 
vi. 22. Also, evil works or deeds, Matth. xii. 35; j 
Mark vii. 23 ; Matth xv. 19; Luke vi. 45; John iii.i 
19, and vii. 7 ; James iv. 16 ; Col. i. 21 ; 2 John 
11 ; Acts xxviii. 21 ; Rom. xii. 9; 2 Tim. iv. 18; 
Luke iii. 19 ; Matth. vii. 17, 18. Men practising wick- 
edness, are hence called evil, or wicked persons, Matth. I 
xii. 39 ; xvi. 4 ; vii. 11, and xii. 34 ; Luke xi. 13f"; 2 
Tim. iii. 13; Luke vi. 45; 1 Cor. v. 13; Matth. v.] 
45; xiii. 49, and xxii. 10; Luke vi. 35 ; Acts xvii. 

5 ; 2 Thess. iii. 2. Such wicked persons have an evil) 
conscience, Heb. x. 22. An evil eye, Matth. vi. 23.1 
and xx. 15; Mark vii. 22; Luke xi. 34. Become! 
evil servants, in various conditions of life, Matth, xviii. 
32, and xxv. 26 ; Luke xix. 22. And as evil or wick- 
edness prevails, the world or age is said to be evil, Gal 
i. 4. Such is a brief review of all the places where 
the word poneros occurs, except the following, and are 
the only passages, where any one can suppose this 
word designates an evil being or fallen angel. 

Matth. vi. 13. " Deliver us from the evil." See alsc 
Luke xi. 4, where the same language is used. Some 
have said, this expression means, "deliver us from the 
evil one" thereby meaning the devil, a fallen angel.- 
But the word one does not occur in the original, is not 
even in the common version, nor does the* scope of the 
passage require it. Such a mode of establishing she 
doctrine, does nos require a serious refutation. In, 
Matth. xiii. 19, the phrase "wicked one" occurs, bul 
the word one is in italic, which might be omitted, or the! 
word person, or thing, substituted in its place. But as 
it has been shown in the last section, that this phrase) 
is synonymous to devil and satan, and has no reference 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 163 

I to a fallen angel, it requires no further notice here. 

I The same remarks apply to Matth. xiii. 38, which has 
(been sufficiently considered already. The expressions 
;ij"the tares are the children of the wicked," and " the 
i good seed are the children of the kingdom," areexplain- 
i ed by the quotation from professor Stuart on John viii. 
: 44, above. "Children of the wicked one," simply 
• means "wicked children," or, "children of wicked- 
i. ness." The Improved Version, in a note on this pas- 
sage, says, " sons of the evil one," are wicked men. — 
Such, in the Old Testament, are called sons of Belial, 
or worthlessness, i. e. worthless men, ] Sam. ii. 12; I 
! Kings xxi. 10. See 2 Cor. vi. 15. In 1 John ii. 13, 
14, die phrase " wicked one," is used twice. The word 
one is not put in italic type, but ought to have been, 
for there is no reason for this alteration. See also Eph. 
vi. 16 ; 1 John iii. 12, and v. 18, 19, where the wick- 
ed, or evil one, or thing, is also mentioned. The con- 
texts of these passages show, that the word thing might 
;be substituted for the word one. Take the last passage 
for an example. The wicked one or thing, which 
touched) or rather hurteth not those who are born of 
(God, is that from which they keep themselves, and this 
Lis sin, for it is said, " whosoever is born of God sinneth 
pot," verse 18. This is confirmed from verse 19, for 
John adds, " we know that we are of God, and the 
iwhole world lieth in wickedness, or sin; or, simply 
ml. See, on all these passages, our remarks on the 
passages where the devil and satan are mentioned, and 
A-hich are synonymous terms with evil or wicked one. 

[ shall only add from Wakefield, on Matth. v, 37. 

H The evil one. So I render again, verse 39, and in 
nher places ; as our translators rightly render below. 
Nearly in ihe same manner, xiii. 19, and elsewhere, 
he wicked one. Whatever is calculated to seduce mer^ 



164 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

to sin, is represented by the sacred writers under the 
figure of a living agent, called the evil one — the ad- 
versary — the enemij-~-the devil, and satan." 

2d. The devil is also supposed to be called " o pei- 
radzon, the tempter." This word is rendered to tempt, 
to try, to prove. The following are all the places where 
it occurs in the New Testament. James i. 13, 14; 
Gal. vi. 1 ; Rev. ii. 10; Acts xv. 10; 2 Cor. xiii. 5; 
1 Cor. vii. 5 ; Heb. xi. 17 ; John vi. 6 ; 1 Thess. iii. 
5; Acts v. 9 ; Rev. iii. 10 ; 1 Cor. x. 13; Matth. xxii. 
18 ; Mark xii. 15 ; Luke xx. 23 ; Heb. ii. 18 ; Mark 
i. 13 ; Luke iv. 2 ; Matth. xvi. 1, and xix. 3 ; Mark 
viii. 11, and x. 2; Luke xi. 16; John viii. 6; Matth. 
iv. 1, and xxii. 35; Heb. iv. 15. We have given 
book, chapter and verse, that the reader may consult 
the passages and see, if in any one of them, the tempter 
mentioned, refers to such a being. The following are 
the only places from which such a thing could be sup- 
posed. 

Matth. iv. 3; Mark i, 13, and Luke iv, 2, 13, have 
already been noticed in considering our Lord's tempta- 
tion and require no further attention. If the devil and 
satan do not refer to a fallen angel, the tempter cannot, 
for it is allowed these terms are used as names for the 
same thing. In 1 Thess. iii. 5, it is said, " For this 
cause when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know 
you<- faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempt- 
ed you and our labor be in vain." What tempter did 
the apostle refer to ? Answer, we have seen from va- 
rious passages, that the principle of evil, or sensual de- 
sire, is the tempter, and is called the devil and satan. 
Indeed, this is the foundation of the other senses in 
which these words are used. This principle, operated 
in every possible way, in the opposers of Christianity, 
whom Paul calls satan, chap. ii. 18, noticed, sect. v. 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 165 

the Thessalonians were called to suffer persecution from 
them, chap. iii. 3, 4. They were also liable to be in- 
fluenced by the principle of evil or sensual desire. 

Anxious for their steadfastness in the faith, the apostle 
expresses his fear, lest by some means the tempter had 
tempted them, and his labor prove vain. This view 
is confirmed, from verses 6, 7, where we are informed 
what relieved the apostle's anxiety of mind. It was 
not that a fallen angel had not succeeded in tempting 
them, but merely that their faith and charity contin° 
ued. 

3d. The devil is also supposed to be called—" the 
dragon" and " the great red dragon;' Rev. chaps. 
[xh. xni. xvi. xx. But sufficient has been said on these 
passages in the last section to which we refer the 
reader. 

4th. The devil is also believed, to be called " the 
serpent," and « that old serpent." We have noticed 
Gen. iii. sufficiently in Section ii. Where the phrase, 
" that old serpent" occurs, has also been considered' 
Sect. vii. The only other text relative to this subject, 
is 2 Cor. xi. 3. "But I fear, lest by any means, as 
the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your 
minds should be corrupted from the simplicity which is 
in Christ." See some remarks on this passage, Sect. 

ii. What I woidd observe further here is 1st. Had 

Paul believed, as a great many do now, that a fallen 
angel or wicked spirit beguiled Eve, would he not have 
said so i Let any candid man consider, if he would 
merely say the. serpent beguiled her. Is any account 
?iven in Scripture of the fall of such an an<>el from 
neaven ? If there be, we will thank any marMu point 
t out. Paul does not even say, that " old serpent," or 
\ that old serpent, the devil, and satan." This is the 
nore remarkable omission, as in this very chapter he 



166 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

speaks ofsatan being transformed into an angel oflight, 
2d. We allow, yea, contend, that the serpent is the same 
as the devil and satan, and they are used in Scripture 
as convertible terms to express the same thing. As to 
this point, we asjree perfectly with our orthodox friends. 
We only contend, that the devil and satan is not a 
fallen angel, or evil being, as they suppose, What 
then is the tempter, the devil, and satan, of which the 
Scriptures speak ? James says, " every man is tempted, 
when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed." 
This is the real original serpent, devil, or tempter, as 
has been shown on various texts in the course of our | 
remarks. See Sect. ii. particularly. No man could 
be tempted, unless he had lusts or desires. The Sa- 
viour was incapable of being tempted without them. 
3d. Eve was beguiled by the serpent, or her ^ desire 
after what was forbidden, and the apostle was in fear 
concerning the Corinthians, lest by any means their 
minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is 
in Christ. He does not intimate that he was in fear 
that a fallen angel would do this. No, his fear was, 
lest by any means this might be done, and in the course 
of the chapter, he points not to a fallen angel as the 
agent, but to false teachers who preached another gos- 
pel to them, and whom, verse. 13, he calls "false apos- 
tles" and " deceitful workers." In Sect. ii. it has 
been shown that the serpent is the symbol of deceit. 

5th. The devil is also supposed to be called the prince 
of this world (o' arhon). This word occurs in Luke 
xii. 58 ; xxiii. 13 ; Acts iv. 5 ; Luke xxiii. 35 ; xxiv. 
20; John vii. 20; Acts iii. 17 ; iv. 8, 26 ; xiii. 27; 
Rom. xiii. 3 ; Matt. ix. 23 ; John vii. 48; Acts xiv. 
5 ; vii. 27, 35 ; xvi. 19 ; Acts xxiii. 5 ; Matt. xx. 25 ; 
1 Cor. ii. 6, 8 ; Luke xiv. 1 ; Matt. ix. 18 ; Luke viii. 
41 ; xviii. 18 ; John iii. 1 ; xii. 42. The word in the 



an Inquiry — part i. 167 

above texts is rendered chief, ruler, magistrate, prince, 
&c. It is applied to men as rulers, both civil and ec- 
clesiastical, and that whether Jewish or heathen. In 
the following texts, it is rendered prince, and refers to 
the prince of the demons, or as it is rendered in our 
version, devils, Matt. ix. 34 ; xii. 24 ; Mark iii. 22 • 
Luke xi. 15. Beelzebub was the prince of the de- 
mons. But that this heathen god had no reference to 
satan or the devil, see Dr. Campbell's sixth Disserta- 
tion. In Eph. ii. 2, this word occurs, and is rendered 
prince, which will be considered presently. The only 
passages, where it is supposed a reference is had to the 
devil, are the following, which I shall quote altogether, 
and then submit some remarks on them for considera- 
tion. 

John xii. 31. " Now is the judgment of this world : 
now shall the prince (V arhon) of this world be can 
out." And xiv. 30. " Hereafter 1 will not talk much 
with you : for the prince (V arhon) of this world 

cometh, and hath nothing in me." And xvi. 8 12 

" And when he (the comforter) is come, he will re- 
prove the world of judgment, because the prince (V 
arhon) of this world is judged." On these passages, 
the principal question we have to consider is, who° or 
what did our Lord refer to, by " the prince of this 
ivorhir Orthodox people say— "the devil, a fallen 
angeir But that our Lord, by " the prince of this 
world" meant the then reigning civil and ecclesiastical 
rulers, I shall now attempt to prove. 

1st. This view is in agreement with the genera], 
yea, almost universal usage of the word arhon in the 
New Testament. Let any one turn to all the above 
texts and he must be convinced of this ; for this word 
is rendered magistrate, ruler, prince, &c, and applied 
to the rulers, both civil and ecclesiastical, then ex- 



168 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 



isting in Judea. It is not once used in reference to a 
fallen angel unless it is proved from the three texts just 
quoted. 

2d. From the scope and connexion of our Lord's 
discourse, where he speaks of the prince of this world. 
The three texts where this is mentioned, all occur in 
discourses of our Lord, only related by John. They 
were spoken by our Lord to his disciples in reference 
to, and in view of, his apprehension, sufferings and 
death. The context of these passages shows this, 
which the reader is desired to consult. As to the 
first, consult verses 27 — 34, and it will be seen that 
our Lord was speaking in view of the hour of his 
crucifixion. As to the last two, they occur in that 
discourse delivered partly in the upper room where he 
had eaten the last passover, and partly on the road 
from tiience to the garden where he was apprehended. 
In chap. xiv. 30, he says, "the prince, of this world 
Cometh," and at verse 31, he adds — "But that the 
world may know that I love the father; and as the 
father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, 
let us go hence." Go where? let me ask. Evidently 
to the garden, where he was apprehended, as is evi- 
ent by reading on to chap, xviii. 15. 

3d. The fact of the case shows, that by " the prince 
of this world," our Lord referred to the civil and ec- 
clesiastical power, and not to a fallen angel. Let any 
one consult all the future history of our Lord's life, 
from the time he uttered these words, until he died on 
the cross, but he finds nothing that looks like a fallen 
angel or devil coming to him. Well, did those pow- 
ers come to him? Nothing can be more certain. — 
Our Lord had no sooner ended his discourse, in chaps, 
xiv., xv., xvi., xvii., than we are told, chap, xviii. 1. 
" When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth. 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 169 

with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a 

garden, into which he entered, and his disciples." 

Well, what came to him here ? From verse 3, and 
onward, we are informed, that Jesus was apprehended 
by the civil authority, urged on by the ecclesiastical. 
The prince of this world, or as the word is rendered 
in other places, the ruler or magistrate of this world 
came. Our Lord, no doubt, knew all that Judas, the 
chief priests, and civil authorities were engaged in for 
his apprehension. Well, he says, chap. °xiv. 30, 
"The prince of this world oometh," (erhatai). To 
testify to the world his love to the father, and obedi- 
ence to his commandment to lay down his life, he 
says to his disciples, verse 31, "Arise, let us go 
hence." He proceeds to the garden, where he knew 
Judas and the officers were comma to apprehend him. 
He foresaw their coming, and says, " the prince or 
ruler of this world cometh," and he goes forth volun- 
rily to meet the result. Accordingly m chap, xviii. 3, 
it is said, "Judas then having received a band of 
' men, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, 
cometh (erhatai) thither with lanterns, and torches, 
and weapons." The chapter throughout shows all 
that took place afterwards, which the reader would do 
well to consult. 

4th. The above is confirmed from the words which 
follow. He said " the prince of this world cometh," 
and immediately adds—" and hath nothing in me."— 
This is generally understood, that the devil, a fallen 
angel, had nothing of sin or corruption in the Saviour 
whereon to work. But this interpretation is perfectly 
gratuitous, for there is no evidence that this was our 
Lord's meaning. But. on the view which I have 
given of the prince of this world, it is consonant to 
truth, and evidence stated in the context. Thus, when 



170 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

our Lord was taken before Pilate, and he had exam- 
ined the case, what does Pilate say ? His words are 
remarkable : " I find in him no fault at all," chap, 
xviii. 38. Very similar to those of our Lord : " The 
prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in me," 
or against me. 

5th. My view is also confirmed from the words 
which immediately precede the expression — "the. 
prince of this world cometh." They stand thus — 
" Hereafter I will not talk much with you." Why 
not ? Our Lord assigns as a reason for his not talking 
much with his disciples afterwards — "for the prince of 
this world cometh." Was the devil, a fallen angel, 
10 prevent his talking with his disciples? This must 
be affirmed by those who say that he referred to such 
a being. But how could he prevent his talking with 
his disciples ? Let those explain this who believe it. 
It is easily perceived bow he was prevented, on my 
views. The moment he was apprehended in the gar- 
den, his disciples forsook him and fled, and from this 
period, being in the hands of his enemies, he was 
not at liberty to talk much with his disciples, nor had 
he much opportunity if even liberty had been allowed 

him. 

6th. The only thing remaining which deserves no- 
tice, is the following. " Now is the judgment of this 
world : now shall the prince of this world be cast out." 
The word here rendered judgment, signifies condemned 
or condemnation, and is so rendered in other places. — 
Is it asked how the world were condemned ? They 
were so, by their rejecting and crucifying Christ, and 
is illustrated by such passages as John iii. 18, 19. Is ; 
it asked how the prince or powers of this world were 
cast out? By putting to death the Lord of glory, the 
Jews filled up the measure of their iniquity, and from 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 171 

that hour were cast out from being the people of God, 
and have been so for nearly two thousand years. — 
They were the chief persons concerned in our Lord's 
crucifixion, for the Roman power was only called 
in to effect their purpose. Pilate showed how unwil- 
ling he was to condemn Jesus contrary to all law and 
justice. 

6th. The devil is also supposed to be called " the 
prince of the power of the air!" Eph. ii. 2. Wake- 
field renders the passage thus — " conformably to the 
ruler of this empire of darkness, the spirit that now 
showeth its power in the sons of disobedience." "It 
was the opinion both of the Jews and heathen," says 
Whitby on this text, " that the air was full of spirits 
called demons ; that from the earth to the firmament, 
all things were full of these companies or rulers ; and 
that there was a prince over them who was called the 
governor of the world, that is, of the darkness of it." 
This agrees to Zoroaster's angel of darkness, who was 
considered the author and director of all evil. The 
apostle evidently here alludes to this heathen notion, 
but he told the Ephesians, that this prince or governor 
of the world, was the spirit which wrought in the 
children of disobedience. The evil, or wickedness of 
men's minds, is the true devil, satan, or governor of 
this world. 

7th. The devil is also supposed to be called "the 
god of this world." 2 Cor. iv. 4. " In whom the 
god of this world (aionos) hath blinded the minds of 
them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious 
gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should 
shine unto them." The god of this world, mentioned 
here, is the same as the prince or power of the air, in 
the last, which, Whitby says, they called "governor 
of this world, that is, of the darkness of it," But the 



172 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

apostle declares that this governor of the world, prince 
of the power of the air, or «od of this world, was the 
spirit that wrought in the children of disobedience. — 
This view is agreeable to the words before us, 
for this certainly blinded the minds of them which 
helieved not. 

We have now finished our remarks on all the pas- I 
saoes which are supposed to contain the names and 
titles of an evil being in the universe, an angel who 
fell from heaven, and deemed by most Christians but 
little inferior in powers to its Creator. We have 
stated our views frankly, but in some cases very brief- 
ly. Such texts on which the greatest dependence is 
placed for proof, have been considered pretty fully. — 
The result of this investigation has been, a deep con- 
viction, that the more the subject is examined, it will 
be found that the Bible gives no countenance -to that 
evil being Christians call the devil and satan. But of, 
this our readers must judge for themselves. 



SECTION IX. 

FACTS STATED, SHOWING THAT THE DEVIL IS NOT A: 
FALLEN ANGEL OR REAL BEING. 

In the preceding Sections, several facts have been 
developed, showing that the devil is not a fallen an- 
gel. We shall now very briefly advert to some other 
facts, not easily reconciled to this doctrine. 

1st. No distinct account is given in Scripture of 
an angel of God sinning in heaven, thereby becoming 



AN INQUIRY PART I. I73 

*devil and on account of which he was cast out of 
it. When proof is demanded of such things, we are 
referred to texts where satan or the devil is sa id to 
have fallen from heaven, and to be cast out into the 
earth But we have shown that the sacred writers at- 
tached no such ideas to those passages, and by quota- 
tions from Jahn, Newton, and others, that a verv dif- 
ferent thing was intended. How then is the fact ac- 
counted for, that no sacred writer gives such an ac- 
'ount : Is it too much to expect, that such a remark. 
We event would be clearly and repeatedly mentioned, 
fea recorded previous to the fall of man? If true 
*uld all the sacred writers have been silent about it 
>oth oefore and after the fall ? This is contrary to 
>od s usual conduct with men. When God was 
pout to destroy the world by a flood, and the cities 
t the pla.n by fire, he forewarns the people of their 
anger, so as to avoid the consequences. But con- 
ning a holy angel becoming a devil in heaven, his 
• 1 from it, and the direful consequences which re- 
■ilted to our race, God says nothing about such things, 
fie wane of such information is indisputable, and we 
'.mk no man will affirm, that this is either like God's 
^aldeahngs with men, or that he assigns any reason 
► 1 withholding such information. How then, do our 
fhodox friends account for all this, and where did 
'ey obtain such explicit information as they generally 
P to people about a fallen angel, and the conse- 
iences of his fall upon the human race? Was it 
Wt Faradise Lost and the Apocrypha, or was it from 
■3 Scriptures ? We beg of them to re-examine this 
bject. 

[2d If it be true that an angel fell from heaven, 
d has been walking about in the world seeking whom 
might devour, for nearly six thousand years, how is 



e 



174 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

it to be accounted for, that no sacred writer asserts 
that any person ever saw him, or had personal inter- 
course with him 1 They re-pea ted ly inform us of per- 
sons seeing good angels, and relate the conversations 
which men had with them. They even inform us oi 
their appearance, and sometimes describe their cloth- 
ing. But do they ever intimate, that any one ever 
saw the devil, describe his appearance and clothing 
or relate any conversations held with him ? It cannot 
be for want of powers on his part to do all this, for 
our brethren believe that he can do more remarkable 
things than any of these. Is he ashamed to show 
himself among men ? We doubt this, for he is believ- 
ed to be a shameless being. Well, does he conceal 
himself from men, that he may the more effectually 
accomplish his wicked designs against them? We 
doubt this, also, for it is affirmed by his advocates, that 
he can assume a very fascinating form, yea, transform 
himself into an angel of light, the more effectually to 
deceive us. How "then do our orthodox brethren ac- 
count for it, that so sacred writer says any one ever 
saw the devil, or conversed with him ? _ We are, 
aware, that they may object by saying " did he not 
assume the likeness of a serpent in Eden, and did he 
not converse with Eve?" But brethren, we have 
shown, Section ii., that this is a mistaken view of Gen. 
Hi. You will, perhaps, object again by saying, " did 
not satan make a personal appearance among the sons 
of God, as stated in the first and second chapters of 
Job, and is not his conversation distinctly related?"-— 
We answer, yes ; but can you disprove the evidence 
which has been adduced, that satan was not a real be- 
ing, but only the evil imaginary god of the Magians : 
If you can, we shall feel greatly indebted to you, 1 
you take the trouble to do this. But perhaps you wil 



AN INQUIRY PART i. 175 

object again, by saying, "did not the devil appear to 
I the Saviour and hold a conversation with him ?" An- 
j swer: did you ever notice, that neither in the first 
two chapters of Job, nor in the account of our Lord's 
temptation, nothing is said about any form, color, or 
shape, which satan assumed? Nor in either of these 
cases, are the conversations represented as held by him 
with sinful men. Besides, in considering those ac- 
counts, we think it has been shown that no such being 
was intended by the writers. Do you object further, 
by saying, "are we not told that satan transformed 
himself into an an^el of light; and is he not represent- 
ed in the book of Revelations under the form of a 
peat red dragon ?" Yes ; and you might add, "hav- 
ing seven heads, and ten horns, and crowns on his 
heads ; yea, as having a pretty long tail, which could 
sweep from the firmament a third part of the stars and 
cast them to the earth." But brethren, is it correct to 
assume as true, that the devil is a fallen angel, and 
then recur to the symbolical language of Scripmre for 
proof, which proofs, when adduced, render your doc- 
trine ridiculous ? Besides, have we not shown that 
! such passages have no relation to such a subject ? Is 
it still objected " does not the history of the world, 
since revelation was completed, furnish accounts of the 
devil appearing to men in various forms, conversing 
with them ; of persons who have sold themselves, soul 
and body, to him, and at the agreed time he has come 
and carried them away, wholesale from the world?" 
Yes; verily such stories have been told. But if any 
ninister among us should preach such nonsense to the 
people, he might be looking out for another parish, in 
iome other quarter of the globe. If any man among 
is should seriously say he had seen the devil, and 
unversed with him, his friends would soon procure 



176 AN INQUIRY — PART I. 

a place for him in the insane hospital. Do our ortho- 
dox friends believe such childish stories themselves ? 
They would smile at me if I even suggested that they 
had any faith in them ; still, however, they continue 
to preach that an angel fell from heaven, has ruined 
the whole human race, deceives them, walks ahout 
seeking whom he may devour, and that he will be the 
eternal tormentor of a considerable portion of them. 
Yet no person has ever seen him or conversed with 
him, nor do the Scriptures teach his existence, when 
carefully and candidly examined. _ 

3d. If an angel fell from heaven before the sin of 
our first parents, how do our orthodox brethren ac- 
count for the fact, that the Jews, to whom were com- 
mitted the oracles of God, were obliged to go to Baby- 
Ion to get information about him 1 Moses says no- 
thine about him ; nor delivers any injunctions to Israel 
concerning him. Nor, until after the Babylonish cap- 
tivity, does it appear that such a being was known in 
Judea, except as an evil god among the heathen na- 
tions We would ask our brethren, affectionately, 
how they account for this, if their views of the devil 
are drawn from divine revelation? The Old Testa- 
ment writers use the term satan, but never use it to 
desianate an angel who fell from heaven. They had 
the "name, but wanted the evil being to whom they 

could apply it. 

4th. It is a notorious fact, not easily accounted J or 
on Scripture ground, that people in these days make 
very different' uses of the terms devil and satan from 
ivhat were made in the days of the inspired writers. 
I shall give an example or two of what I mean. First, 
you never find in those days, as in these, persons apolo- 
gising for crimes by blaming the devil. Nor do you ; 
find W anv one ever made the devil a bugbear for! 



AN INQUIRY" PART I. 177 

the purpose of frightening their children into obedi- 
ence. Nor does the devil appear to have been any 

object of fear, to old or young, by night or by day. 

j Besides, though men in ancient limes, as in these, were 
: given to cursing and swearing, yet you do not find that 
any of them had learned to swear by the devil. An 
instance is not on record, of one in a passion or other- 
wise, who ever wished any of his fellow creatures to 
go to hell or the devil. In old times, people swore 
by the name of the Lord, and cursed each other by 
J their gods, but no one seems to have known how to 
swear by satan or the devil. And it is equally certain, 
I that no inspired writer seems to have known how to 
give such horrible descriptions of the devil and hell 
: torments, as is frequently done by modern preachers. 
i But it is well known, that many damn their hearers to 
i endless hell torments, and send them without much 
[ceremony to the devi] ; and is it any matter of sur- 
prise, that their hearers in a less genteel way should 
i do the same ? So long as we have so much unscrip- 
itural, not to say profane talk about the devil and hell 
j torments in the pulpit, let us cease to wonder that 
.similar profane, silly language should salute our ears in 
[the streets almost at every corner. 

5th. The Old Testament is often quoted in the New, 
• and quoted to show what was the faith oj believers 
during that dispensation, but is never quoted or allu- 
ded to, showing that any of them believed the devil to 
be a fallen angel. They neither announce this as an 
Old Testament doctrine, nor as a new revelation from 
God under the gospel dispensation. Abraham be- 
lieved God, and it was accounted unto him for righte- 
ousness, but it is not said of any one that he believed 
in a fallen angel, called the devil ; and that this was 
of use to him in any Avay. We have seen, that both 



178 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

Old and New Testament writers frequently speak o 
satan and the devil, and we appeal to the candor oil 
our brethren to say, whether the Scripture writers 
would have applied these terms to good and bad men : 
to the angel of Jehovah, to men's evil passions, and tc 
a piece of writing, had they considered them appropri- 
ate titles of the worst beins; in the universe, and the 
implacable enemy of God and man? 

6th. It is a fact, that in every country whew tfu 
Bible is not Tcnown, or not studied where it A 
known, there superstitious notions have prevailet 
concerning witches, evil spirits, ghosts, and th 
devil . and just in proportion as it has hen Jcnow 
and studied all such superstitions have gradual^ 
been exploded and renounced by the people. For ex- 
ample, not many centuries ago, it was firmly believe. 
by all the Christian world, that human beings coul< 
become witches and wizards. It was also believed 
that they were in league with the devil, and coul< 
perform very extraordinary things. See Mather' 
Magnalia. When the tragical scenes of the Salem 
witchcraft were acting, the man who would have writ) 
ten against it, as 1 do now against the devil, wcul 
have been an object of universal execration. But 
doubt if vou can find in the town of Salem an intelli 
<rent man who has the least faith in the doctrine c 
witchcraft. Even the devil himself now, with all hi 
extraordinary powers, does not excite one half the ai 
tention which a few witches did in those days. Ld 
him muster all the priestcraft and superstition left i 
the land to his assistance, he could not procure a jur 
of twelve men to condemn a single individual to deat 
for being in league with him. It was a dark day ft 
the devif when witchcraft declined, for from that hoi 
his popularity has been on the wane, it being one < 



AN INQUIRY PART 1. 179 

his chief supports. All their powers were derived 
] irom him. Now, it is believed they never had any, 
and people are as much puzzled to explain how a hu- 
man being could become a witch or a wizard, as how 
a holy angel in heaven could become a devil. But 
I while people are generally agreed that witchcraft was 
jail a piece of superstition and do justice to the devil 
in freeing him from all blame about it, yet they still 
continue to believe in his existence and extraordinary 
I powers. We look back with surprise to the days v\ hen 
our fathers burned the witches, and throw the mantle 
of charity over them. Our children will have to do 
the same for us a century hence. Will they not have 
to say — " Strange that our fathers should say the pow- 
er of witches was all a piece of superstition yet not 
see that the power of the devil was no better. Strange 
that they should perceive all the proofs of witchcraft 
were mistaken views of the Bible, and yet think their 
[(roofs of a personal devil correct : strange, that they 
should discard witches as imaginary beings yet believe 
their father the devil to be a real being. Their devil 
never performed such wonders as witches have done. 
Did their devil ever bring a good man from the state 
of the dead to converse with the living as did the 
witch of Endor? Strange, beyond measure strange, 
that our fathers should so completely discard witch- 
craft as a superstition which the Jews imbibed from 
the Canaanites, where no devil was known, and yet 
continue to believe in the devil, a superstition which 
the Jews imbibed at Babylon many ages after." — 
Thus will our children be surprised at our superstition 
and weakness, and will have to cover us with the 
mantle of their charity for our belief in the personali- 
ty of the devil, as we do that of our fathers respecting 
witches. 



180 AN INQUIRY FART I. 

That a great revolution of opinion has taken place 
about witches, ghosts, &,c, no one can well deny. — 
Well, how has it been effected ? Not by force, but 
by the slow, gradual influence of the light of truth. — 
The Bible has been more read and critically examined. 
Reason and common sense, formerly degraded, assume 
their proper place and dignity. The arts and sciences 
have been cultivated and the means of human know- 
ledge greatly increased. Witchcraft, like the owl of the 
night, has fled before all this light, and no place is 
found for it this country. So will it be, and so let 
it be, until every superstition is banished from the 
earth. 

7th. It is also a fact, that the common opinions en- 
tertained of the devil, are at variance with other 
plain and acknowledged truths of the Bible. I shall 
only give an example or two of this. The devil is 
generally accused of tempting men to sin. But when 
the Scriptures speak in plain languane, they inform us i 
that men tempt each other to sin, Prow i. 10. And 
that every man is tempted when he is drawn away of 
his own lust and enticed, James i. 14, and iv. 1 — 4. 
In the popular language of the times, Judas' crimes 
are ascribed to the devil. But they are also ascribed 
to himself, Acts i. 18 — 26. Judas takes all the blame 
to himself — :c I have betrayed the innocent blood." — 
By consulting the following texts, it may be seen that 
things are sometimes ascribed to the devil, to God, and 
to men. Luke xxii. 3 ; John xiii. 2, 27, 30 ; Acts ii. 
23'; 2 Sam. xiv. 1 ; 1 Chron. xxi. L ; 1 Kings xxii. 
22, 23 ; James i. 13, 14 ; Jer. iv. 10 ; Ezek. xiv. 9 ; 
Compare 2 Thess. ii. 8 — 12 ; 1 John iii. 8 ; Gen. 
xiv. 6—8 ; xlii. 21, 22; Acts v. 3, and iv. 9. It 
is generally asserted that the devil is the secret 
acent in tempting men, and that he makes tools ol 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 181 

them ; but this is taken for granted as true, which 
i ought to be proved true, for the Scriptures no where 
assert this. 

8th. It is also a fact, that men in sinning, are 
never conscious of the influence of the devil over them. 
• They have learned to say, that the devil influences 
| men to sin, and sometimes blame the devil for their 
crimes ; but the personal consciousness and experience 
of every man declares, that no such influence was felt, 
nor was it needed. An evil influence is felt, but it is 
the influence of our own lusts and passions, draw- 
ing us away and enticing us. The Scripture devil 
does lempt us, but not a. fallen angel, as is commonly 
believed. 

9th. It is also a fact, that the common opinions en- 
tertained of the devil, whether right or wrong, are the 
effect of early education and popular opinion. With 
most^ people, reason, common sense, and the Bible, had 
mothing to do in forming such opinions, but they have 
been implicitly received by tradition from their fathers. 
'They say they believe them, but cannot tell why, ex- 
cept that they were so taught, for they have never ex- 
ercised their reason or studied the Bible to see whether 
ithey are true or false. Even when a person determines 
to examine such opinions, his early prejudices within, 
and popular opinion without, overawe and deter him 
from giving free scope to his investigations. We speak 
here from experience, for these have been powerfully 
felt in the course of this discussion. 

10th. The last fact which I shall mention is, that 
allowing the personal existence of the devil fully 
proved, it is beyond all doubt, that he has been much 
misrepresented, and his character abused by many 
Christian people. I shall only give an instance or 
two. For many ages he was accused of making witches 



182 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

and wizards. Now it is allowed no such beings ever 
existed, but the whole was a piece of superstition and 
an astonishing instance of human credulity. Again ; 
for a^es, and even now, what frightful descriptions 
have been given of the devil, in preaching. He has 
been accused, as being the tormentor of damned souls 
in hell, and imagination has been put to the utmost 
stretch, to desciibe his horrible modes of torture there. 
Now, not a word of this is true, for let the devil have 
his due, no scripture writer ever says a word about the 
devil as the tormentor of any one. In fact, many a 
railing, not to say wicked accusation has been brought 
against the devil, and though this is now allowed true, 
no apology is made for such shameful, unscriptural de- 
famation. W e readily excuse all this, for though 
preachers have declaimed against such a being in the 
pulpit, and terrified people with such horrible descrip- 
tions of him, all must have seen that they had no great 
faith in their own doctrine. They, like other people, 
live all the six days of the week without any fear or 
concern about him. The minister makes him a bug- 
bear in the pulpit to frighten the pirents, and parents 
at home make the same use of him to frighten their 
children, but both take care not to be much frightened: 
themselves. 



SECTION X. 

OBJECTIONS CONSIDERED. 



Any objections which have occurred to me against 
the views advanced, I shall fairly state and attempt to 
answer. It may then be objected 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 183 

1st. " The devil, satan, or tempter, is spoken of as 
a real being. Personal pronouns are not only used 
in speaking of him, but he is represented as speaking 
and acting, and we are expressly informed of what he 
said and did." This objection has been partially ad- 
verted to in the course ol our remarks, but 1 shall here 
notice it a little further. If all to which personal pro- 
nouns are applied, are to be considered real beings, we 
must admit many inanimate things, yea, qualities to be 
real beings as well as the devil. For example, the 
earth or land is personified, Job xxxi. 38. The hea- 
vens are also personified, Jer. ii. 12, 13. So is the 
sea, Job xxxviii. 8, 9. Death, the grave, and destruc- 
tion are personified, Job xxviii. 22. I Cor. xv. 55. 
The hosts of heaven are personified. Psalm cxlviii. ] 
— 5. See the whole Psalm. The mountains and 
hills can sing, and all the trees of the field can clap 
their hands, Isai. lv. 12. Wisdom, power, and a vari- 
ety of good qualities, are personified in Scripture, and 
why not also bad qualities, yea, the principle of evil 
itself ? In short, if things represented as speaking and 
acting, must be considered as real beings, and piool's of 
personal existence, then it is certain all inanimate crea- 
tion ought to be considered real beings, for almost all 
things are represented as living, and speaking, and 
acting. Jotham s olive tree, fig tree, vine and bram- 
Ible, must be considered living beings, for they are re- 
presented as holding a conversation together. Judg. 
|ix. 7 — 16. Micaiab's speech to Ahab. I Kinys xxii., 
Itnust also be literally understood, and who does not 
: perceive, what absurdities would ensue, if such a mode 
of interpretation was adopted. 

2d. "If there he no foundation in Scripture for a 
fallen a n<jel, called the devil, how came this opinion to 
obtain such universal currency among mankind?' The 



184 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

opinion, you say, was held by the Magians, and this 
evil being was considered their evil god, and called 
ahraman, and by the Greeks arimanius. Zoroaster 
called him "an angel of darkness," and other nations 
have had various other names for him. Now, as all 
counterfeit money implies current, must there not be 
a foundation in truth for such a universal belief of an 
evil being, call him devil, satan, or by any other name ?" 
As this is the principal, and most popular objection, 
which can be advanced against my views, I shall spend 
some time in conside.ing it. It is true that counterfeit 
money implies current, but do our orthodox friends be- 
lieve, that counterfeit opinions in religion, always im- 
ply, that there is some foundation in Scripture for them ? 
Do they allow, that there is some foundation in truth 
for a purgatory and the doctrine of transubstantiation ? 
Do they believe, that there is any foundation in truth; 
for witchcraft, for ghosts, and all the different grades of 
hobgoblins? Will they allow that there is a founda- 
tion in Scripture for all the wild and ridiculous opinions 
which have obtained currency in the world ? If not, 
why assert that there must be for the common opinion 
concerning the devil ? Is it not possible to invent a 
thousand things which have no foundation in the Bi- 
ble ? Error supposes truth, as counterfeit money sup- 
poses current, but is it true that every error is a cor- 
ruption of truth ? But it ought to be noticed, that 
Dean Prideaux did not consider the articles of Zoro- 
aster's creed, quoted Section iv. as corruptions of truth, 
but consonant to the truth. Nor do Christians in our 
day, for they have adopted both the sentiments and 
language of his creed. Why then call them corrup- 
tions of the truth ? If they^are, why preach such cor- 
ruptions for truth to the world ? Do orthodox preach- 
ers tell the people, that such sentiments are greatly 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 185 

corrupted, both as to matter and language? On the 
contrary, do they not solemnly assure their hearers, that 
such doctrines are the faithful sayings of God, though 
it is notorious Zoroaster taught them six hundred years 
before the days of Christ. Will they thank me for 
suggesting that there is any corruption in the case ? If 
they believe such opinions have any corruption about 
them, why not purge them, and preach only the una- 
dulterated truth of God? Why pass as current Bible 
doctrine, such counterfeit opinions on the public? Al- 
though there is no law to punish men for passing coun- 
terfeit opinions in religion, yet one should think, their 
iown doctrine of eternal misery, if they believed it, would 
[be sufficient to deter them. 

If the universal belief in a devil, proves that there 
is a foundation in truth for the opinion, then Pagan- 
ism, Mahometanism, and Roman Catholicism, have 
! all a foundation in truth, for they have all in their 
turn been pretty universally believed. Purgatory, tran- 
substaiitiation, witchcraft, and a thousand other opin- 
ions, ought not to be discarded, for they were once 
generally believed. Many good and learned men be- 
lieved them, and thought their proofs for them as good 
jas those now adduced concerning the devil. Why are 
pey rejected? Because, attention to the Bible has 
phown they are not taught there, and closer attention 
to it will show also, that the common opinions concern- 
ing the devil are equally false. But if the above ob- 
jection had any real force, or the reasoning employed be 
Icorrect, our orthodox friends will allow, that universal 
halvation, and that there is no devil, are opinions, which 
imay have some foundation in the Scriptures, and that 
should they ever come to be universally believed, this 
universal reception would make them true. But will 
they admit such reasoning as correct ? 



186 AN INQUIRY PART 1 

How such an opinion, as that concerning an evil 
being called the devil, came first to exist among men, 
has been partly accounted for in Section iii. and iv.— 
Christians learned. this opinion from the Jews, the Jews 
learned it from Zoroaster's creed, and Zor taster learn- 
ed it from the ancient Magi an religion. Well, it may- 
be asked, how came the Magians to imbibe such an! 
opinion? I would first answer this question by asking!; 
another. How came the Sabians to worship idols? — 
Was there any foundation in Scripture for this? But, 
the apostle in Rom. i. answers the question, how all 
such deviations from truth originated. Men when they 
knew God glorified him not as God, they became vain 
in their imaginations, their foolish heart was darkened ; 
and professing themselves to be wise they became fools. 
See verses 21 , 22, 23. Respecting the origin of an evil 
principle, which was afterwards personified and deified, 
Essenus thus writes p. 125. " Plutarch observes, that 
the doctrine of two contrary principles prevailed in all 
countries. The reason is obvious ; evil abounded in 
every age and nation : and as men could not reconcile 
the notion of natural and moral evil with an all-wise 
and benevolent author, it was natural for them to rea- 
son in the following manner: 'Since nothing can come 
into being without a cause; and since that which is 
perfectly good cannot be the cause of evd, then there 
must exist a distinct principle in i.ature, as well for the 
production of evil as of that which is good.' In thisj 
manner argued the Persian sages ; and Plutarch seems 
to have considered the argument conclusive. This doc- 
trine was introduced into Judea before the age of Tsai-t 
ah, who, as we have seen, thus sets it aside : ' I form* 
the light and create darkness; I make peace and create^ 
evil: I the Lord do all these things.' xlv. 7." 

3d. It may also be objected, " you have said, thatj 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 187 

the doctrine of an evil principle deified, was known as 
sarly as'the days of Job, which was about the time of 
Moses: but is not this too early a date for the exist- 
ence of such an opinion among men, and is there any 
aroofthatit existed at such a date?" Some notice 
yas taken of this objection, Section iii. and I shall here 
idd a few remarks in reply to it. It is then certain, 
hat the worship of idols prevailed in the world before 
he days of Moses. If the question is examined, did 
he worship of idols or that of an evil principle first pre- 
vail ? we think the evidence will be in favor of the 
atter. But, we have found it impossible to ascertain 
lates as to the first origin of eilher, both being lost in 
ntiquity, where no dates are o'wen. Essenus, quoting 
rom Plutarch, says p. 74. " < There are others again, 
vho call the good principle only God, giving the name 
'f Demon to the evil being ; in which number is Zo- 
oaster the Magian, who is said to have lived 5000 
'ears before the Trojan war. Now, this philosopher 
alls the good principle Oromazes, and the evil one Ari- 
lanius ; adding, moreover, that as of all sensible beings, 
he former bears the greatest resemblance to light, so 
he latter was most like darkness.' § xlv. 40^ The 
octnne here stated is undoubtedly very ancient ; but 
beearliness of the period in which Zoroaster is said to 
ave lived is absurd and must have proceeded fromthat 
propensity in which all nations indulged to magnify 
leir own antiquity." Further; Mr. Mayo, in bis An- 
lent Geography, says, p. 37, " the Scythians, whom 
le dawn of history discovers in present Persia under 
leir king Tanus, attack Vexores king of Egypt, con- 
uer Asia, and establish the Scythian empire fifteen 
undred years before Ninus, or three thousand six 
undred and sixty years before Christ." And quoting 
'om Mr. Pinkerton concerning " the aboriginal Scy° 



188 AN INQUIRY PART 1. 

thian empire of Persia," he thus writes : p. 23 ; "And 
beyond this there is no memorial of human affairs, save 
in Egypt alone, the history of which begins with Menes, 
the first king, about four thousand years before our era; 
while the earliest appearance of the Scythians in his- 
tory is about four hundred years after, when Vexores 
was king of Egypt, and Tanus of the Scythse — not to 
mention the collateral light derived from the whole his- 
tory of the Greeks and Romans, who were Scythae, as 
just shown." He adds, on the same page — '"'on this 
route we shall find the Scythians, Getae, or Goths, not 
only peopling all Scandenavia and Germany, but ex- 
tending hence and actually possessing Gaul and Spain 
five hundred years before Christ, as well as Britain and 
Ireland three hundred years before Christ." From 
these statements the following things are obvious : 

1st. That the Magian religion is very ancient, ex- 
tending so far back into antiquity that no distinct ac- 
count of its origin is to be found on record. If such 
thing is in existence we have been unable to find it 
2d. "That the people to whom the Christian religion 
was first preached, from the very nature of the case, 
must have been previously imbued with the tenets of 
the Magian religion. It was preached first to the Jews, 
who had spent seventy years in captivity at Babylon, 
where we have seen that the Magian religion prevailed. 
It was also preached by the apostles to the Greeks and 
Romans, whom Mr. Mayo says, " were Scythians," 
and " whom the dawn of history discovers in present 
Persia," the very place where Prideaux, above quoted, 
says the Magian religion first originated. 3d. Mr. 
Mayo's statements also show us how the tenets of the 
Magian religion were diffused throughout Europe, He 
says, " the Scythians whom the dawn of history dis- 
covers in present Persia" we shall find t( not only peo- 



AN INQUIRY PART I. \QQ 

filing all Scandenavia and Germany, but extending 
jience and actually possessing Gaul and Spain five hun- 
dred years before Christ, as well as Britain and Ireland 
hree hundred years before Christ." The Magian reli- 
gion being the ancient religion of Persia, when the peo- 
ple irom thence overran Scandenavia, Germany, Gaul, 
>pain, Britain and Ireland, several hundred years be 
ore Christ, they must have carried its principles along 
mh them ; A miracle was necessary to prevent Christ 
lanity being blended with them when introduced into 
lose countries. That it has been blended with them, 

w ink proved in preceding Sections. 

We have then all the evidence which the nature of 
N case will admit, that the doctrine of an evil Princi- 
pe deined, was known among men in the days of Job 
| our orthodox brethren deny this, and can prove that 
;>eir devil had another or better origin, we respectfully 
feguest them to prove it. 

Such are the chief objections, which are likely to be 
if a S ainst J n, y views ofthe devil, excepting such as 
ignt be made against any innovation in religious popu- 
r opinions. But as these have been stated and an- 
gered m my Inquiry into the words Sheol, Hades &c 
I it 1 refer the reader. In concluding this Section I 
ouid merely remark, that many have good reason to 
fject : against my views, for if they are true, what a 
eat Joss they must sustain in bein ? robbed of their 
incpal top.cs of preaching and religious conversation, 
be devil and eternal hell torments are themes on 
Inch many delight to dwell. They seem health to 
P nave and marrow to their bones, and to remove 
|MS taking away their gods, and what have they 

13 



190 AN INQUIRY PART I. 



SECTION XL 

CONCLUDING REMARKS, POINTING OUT SOME OF THEJ 
EVILS WHICH HAVE ARISEN FROM THE COMMON 0PIn3 
IONS ENTERTAINED OF THE DEVIL AND SATAN. 

It would be an endless task to detail all the evils, 
which have resulted from the common opinions enter-: 
tained of the devil. A few only I shall name, and; 
leave the reader to pursue the subject. If it then bt*j 
true, as I have attempted to show, that no such being 
as the devil exists, let the reader consider 

1st. What a vast number of passages in God's word 

have been perverted in proof of this doctrine. _ They ( 

are almost innumerable. Is there no evil then in mis. 

understanding and perverting God's word ? No ma| 

will say so, who loves it, and trembles at it. It is on« 

of the greatest of all evils, for it has been the fruitfy 

source of most evils which have existed in the world. 

If this doctrine be false what a great change it prodtt; 

ces on the whole face of the Bible. . ;j 

2d. Let the reader consider the evil effects of thi: f 

doctrine on mankind. A belief in the common opin, 

ions concerning the devil, has laid the foundation fo, 

almost every other superstition among Christians. Tak ( 

into view also, what unnecessary and distressing feai] 

the belief of such opinions has given to children, aa\ 

even persons of riper years. And who can tell the dis, 

tress which they have given people, when closing the} 

mortal career. On weak minds, their influence ha 

Ibsen such as to drive some to madness, and others t, 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 191 

suicide. Most people would dismiss a domestic, if 
found frightening their children with ghosts and hob- 
goblins: but these same people cheerfully pay a man 
o frighten both them and their children, one day in 
pie week, with the devil. The devil, with many peo- 
ple, is much more feared than God. But what an ex- 
cellent apology have such opinions afforded men for 
:heir sins The devil has been obliged to bear the 
plame, while men have had all the pleasure of sinning 
py such opinions, men's attention has been turned 
way from the true devil within them, to an invisible, 
^aginary being, called the devil, without them. While 
i deceived heart has heen drawing them aside from 
ruth and holiness, the doctrine of the devil helps to 
Ijalm their fears, stupifies their conscience, and embol- 
dens them to repeat their crimes. And why should it 
ot, if it be true, that such a powerful, deceitful being 
f I , ™, Vl1 ' 1S conti ™aUy influencing them to sin ? 
• n J- , common opinions concerning the devil, are 
jighly dishonorable to the character of God. We have 
ever seen the least attempt made to show how such a 
,eing as the devil was for the honor of God's cbarac- 
Jr. On the contrary, it is believed, that sin dishonors 
rod, and why not also the devil, the author of sin?— 
Put ilany man can explain, how the devil can be for 
fe honor of God, either here or hereafter, we should 
f glad to see it done. How such a being, with such 
Xtraordmary powers, with this world for his ran^e of 
wickedness, and existing forever the enemy of God and 
>e tormentor of men, can be for the honor of Jeho- 
Wi s character, is beyond all my feeble powers to 
gprehend. It seems to argue, that God could not, 
' would not prevent his existence. That he cannot, 
> will not curtail his powers, confine him, restore him, 



192 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

or strike him out of existence. This evil, once intro- 
duced, is without remedy and without end. It is cer- 
tainly a poor account of God to tell us, that the glory 
and honor of his character, is inseparable from the 
devil and that the eternal misery of this being with 
multitudes of mankind, are to promote the glory of God 
forever. If this be glory and honor, pray what is dis- 
honor or disgrace ? 

4th. The common opinions concerning the devil and 
satan, with others generally held, have tended to land 
men in downright infidelity. Is it any matter of sur- 
prise that men become infidels, when such opinions are 
presented to them as the religion of Jesus Christ? Is 
it not rather matter of wonder that all men are not in- 
fidels ? Cast your eyes round the whole world, and 
say, if infidelity has not had its hot-bed, in the coun- 
tries where such absurd and ridiculous opinions have 
been palmed on the world for religion by interested 
priests. Neither infidelity, nor idolatry, can be con- 
quered or prevented, but by the truth of God. 

5th. Such opinions mixed with the religion of Jesus 
Christ, have been in time past, and must be while they 
are retained, a great hindrance to the universal recep- 
tion of Christianity in the world. It is a question of 
no ordinary kind to a reflecting mind, Is the religion of 
Jesus Christ presented to the heathen in its pure una- 
dulterated state ? Or, are we introducing to them a 
human creed, containing articles derived from Zoroa- 
ster and the Grecian philosophy, and only supplanting 
one system of ignorance, superstition, and cruelty, by 
establishing another in some respects worse ? Viewing 
the creeds taught the heathen generally, let us see if 
this is saying any thing but the truth. Christian misr 
sionaries teach only one God, but this God they divide 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 193 

into three. But passing this, I ask, what heathen god 
ever called on its votaries to believe that he had elected 
some to everlasting happiness before they were born, 
and had left, not to say doomed all the rest to endless 
misery ? Heathen gods have required parents to sac- 
rifice their children to them, women to immolate them- 
selves on the funeral piles of their husbands, and heca- 
tombs of old and young have been slaughtered to ap- 
pease their wrath ; but name the heathen god, if you 
can, that ever required its worshippers to be willing to 
be damned in order that he might save them ? And, 
when did any of them ever teach their worshippers' 
that their happiness in heaven will be greatly increased 
by the sight of their nearest and dearest relatives wri- 
thing under eternal torments ? I call on our orthodox 
brethren to name the heathen god, who ever taught 
such doctrines, or ever bore such a cruel, horrible char- 
acter ; and to crown the climax of his nameless wick- 
edness said, "all this ivas done for the display of his 
glorious character." Who would be a Christian if this 
be the Christian's God ? Who would not be a Pao- an 
to get rid of such a God ? 

Is it said— " Missionaries do not teach such thino-s 
to the heathen ?" It will certainly afford me pleasure 
to find that they do not. But did they not teach such 
-things here, before they went far hence unto the Gen- 
'I tiles to teach them? If they taught them here, why 
not there ? Presuming, then, that such doctrines are 
taught to the heathen, permit me to ask, what an intel- 
ligent heathen might be expected to say to such Mis- 
sionaries ? He might surely with great propriety say 
something like the following —« Gentlemen Missiona- 
ries— You have been at some trouble, and considerable 
expense, in coming here to teach us about your God 



194 AN INQUIRY PART I. 

and religion. While we thank you for your good in- 
tentions, we must say, that we cannot change ourowr 
gods for yours, or add one more to the gods we have 
already, unless he is a good, kind, and merciful God.— 
Our own gods are cruel enough, but if your God be as 
you describe him, to receive him as our God, woulc 
only be to add to our miserable condition. We^have 
had all the tender feelings of our hearts torn to pieces, 
in seeing our infants and relations tortured to death to 
satisfy our present gods. But bad as they are, none 
of them ever made such cruel demands on us as yours 
do on you. No, none of them ever demanded of us to 
believe, that our eternal felicity would be increased, by 
beholding others in misery, and that we ourselves must 
be willing to be damned for their glory, or we never 
can be saved by them. You have come a great way 
to tell us that all our gods are but dumb idols. Per- 
haps this may be true ; but unless you suppose us hea- 
then, devoid of all feeling and common sense, how 
could you ever suppose, that we would renounce our 
earthly cruel false gods, for an eternally cruel true one. 
Return to your employers, with our thanks for their 
good intentions towards us, and when we send Mis- 
sionaries to your country, they shall bring you thou- 
sands of gods all better than the one you propose to 
us. Bad as our gods are, none of them like yours, al- 
lows a devil to ruin us here, and torment us forever m 
the world to come. Our fathers knew about your 
dev.il, and you have borrowed a considerable part ofi 
your creed, from what they were taught many years 
before your religion existed, and yet you come to tell 
us things which we knew long before, as wonderful 
revelations from your God. Whether your impudence, 
is not as great as you think our ignorance to be, you 



AN INQUIRY PART I. 195 

may reflect about, on your passage home. Fare you 
well." 

To conclude. If we wish the heathen to cast their 
idols to the moles and to the bats, let us cast our devil 
and many other false opinions out of the Christian re- 
ligion, and let us both say, what have we any more to 
do with idols, or with the devil ? the Lord, he is our 
God, and we will serve him. 



END OF THE FIRST PART. 



PART II. 



AN INQUIRY 

INTO THE EXTENT OF DURATION EXPRESSED BY 
THE TERMS OLIM,AION, AND AIONION RENDERED 
EVERLASTING, FOREVER, Ac. IN THE COMMON 

HKKSS ESP£CIALL Y WHEN APPLIED TO PUN 
loHMLNT. 



SECTION I. 

ALL THE TEXTS NOTICED WHERE OLIM OCCURS IN 
THE OLD TESTAMENT, BUT IS RENDERED BY WORDS 
WHICH DO NOT EXPRESS OR IMPLY ETERNAL DURA- 
TION. 

Taylor, in his Hebrew concordance, on the word 
olim, says, << The word is applied to time, and signi- 
fied! a duration which is concealed, as being of an un- 
known or great length, with respect either to time past 
or to come." After quoting some texts, which he sup 
posed proof of this, he adds : "it signifies eternity, not 
from the proper force of the word, but when the sense 
of the place, or the nature of the subject to which it is 
applied requireth it ; as God and his attributes." As 
he refers to no text to show, that when applied to pun- 
ishment it signifies eternity, it may, I think, be inferred, 



198 AN INQUIRY PART II, 

that he did not think it was ever so applied. Park- 
hurst, on the word olim, says, " it seems to be much 
more frequently used for an indefinite than for infinite 
time." And in his Greek Lexicon, on the words aion 
and aionios, he says, that the Hebrew word olim an- 
swers as the corresponding word for these two words in 
the Greek of the Seventy, "which words denote time 
hidden from man, whether indefinite or definite, whether 
past or future." Professor Stuart, in his letters to Dr. 
Miller, p. 128, commenting on Mic. v. 1, says : " the 
words ~kedesh and od, rendered by Turretine, eternity, 
are like the Greek aion, that also signifies any thing 
ancient, which has endured or is to endure for a long 
period. The question when these words are to have 
the sense of ancient or very old, is always to be deter- 
mined by the nature of the case, i. e. by the context." 
Concessions, such as these, from critics on the lan- 
guage of Scripture, ought to lead every man to exa- 
mine, if these terms are ever used in the Bible to ex- 
press the endless duration of punishment. Mr. Stuart's 
rule, if applied with attention to the general usage of 
these terms, would soon cool the zeal of many people, 
who seem to dwell with peculiar delight on the end- 
less duration of punishment to their fellow creatures. 
It is evident, that the translators of the common ver- 
sion were fully aware, that olim was often used by the 
sacred writers to express a limited period of time, for 
1st. They render it continuance, Isai. Ixiv. 5. 

2d. Ancient, and apply it to la ndmarks, Pro v. xxii. 
28. To people, Isai. xliv. 7. To paths, Jer. xviii. 
15. To high places, Ezek. xxxvi. 2. To nations, 
Jer. v. 15. To times, Psalm lxxvii. 5, which is ex- 
plained to mean old. Had olim in these texts been 
rendered eternal, ur everlasting, as in some other places, 
the impropriety would be very manifest. We would 



AN INQUIRY PART II. 199 

then have had an eternal landmark, an everlasting peo- 
ple, eternal paths, and everlasting high places ; yea, 
an everlasting nation, and eternal times. But they 
had bo idea that this Avoid always expressed endless 
duration, and accordingly rendered it ancient as the 
context of the passages demanded. In the last text 
they have rendered olirn both by the word old and an- 
cient, which if rendered eternal or everlasting, the pas- 
sages would read thus: "I have considered the days 
of everlasting, the years of eternal times." 

3d. Olirn is rendered old and is equivalent to an- 
cient, as in the last class of passages. Thus the " days 
of old" is explained to mean "the years of many gen- 
erations," Deut. xxxii. 7, Isai.lxiii. 9, comp. verse 11, 
which shows that the days of old refer to the days of 
Moses, Jer. vi. 16,Lam.iii. 6, Amos ix. 11, Mic. vii. 
14, Mai. iii. 4. In this last text '-'days of old" is ex- 
plained to be " former years," and in the margin our 
translators have put " ancient years." See also Job 
xxii. 15, Prov. xxiii. 10, Isai. Iviii. 12, where we read 
of the "old way" the "old landmark" and "the old 
waste places." The explanation given in this last text 
is " thou shalt raise up the foundations of many gene- 
rations." The same is repeated, chap. Ixi. 4. In the 
following texts olirn is rendered old and is applied to a 
variety of things, which it would only be a waste of 
time to particularize. Ezek. xxv. 15, Jer. xxviii. 8, 
Gen. vi. 4, 1 Sam. xxvii. 8, Psalm cxix. 52, Isai. xlvi. 
9, Comp. verse 10, Ezek. xxvi. 20, Josh. xxiv. 2, Jer. 
ii. 20, Psalm xxv. 6, Isai. lvii. 1 1 and li. 9, " ancient 
days" and "generations old" are used as explanatory 
of each other. ^ Eccles. i. 10. Such are all the texts 
in which olirn is rendered old, and on which we shall 
submit a few brief remarks. Let it be then supposed 



200 AN INQUIRY PART II. 

for a moment, that it had been rendered everlasting, or 
by any other word which has the idea of endless du- 
ration affixed to it, what would follow ? It may be 
observed as an example, that men are called on to re- 
member the days of everlasting, that God carried Israel 
all the days of everlasting, and that some are spoken of 
as dead from everlasting. Besides; the everlasting 
waste places were to be built, and the giants were from 
everlasting, men of renown. Whoever chooses to go 
over all the above texts will see, that to translate olim 
everlasting or eternal, would involve the inspired wri- 
ters in the grossest absurdities. It is evident, that in 
all these texts, as in the preceding, olim rendered old, 
signifies ancient. Though it expresses a long, indefi- 
nite period of time, yet it would not be very difficult 
to ascertain, in some instances at least, how many years 
were meant. If olim then, in any text rendered ever- 
lasting or eternal, does convey the sense of endless du- 
ration, it is obvious that it cannot have this meaning in 
any of the texts which have yet been brought to view. 
Both the texts and their contexts forbid this, and we 
have seen, that an explanation is given of this word by 
the sacred writers to prevent all misapprehension on 
the subject. 

4th. In the following places olim is rendered any} 
long, any time, long time, long home, and long dead. f 
Levit. xxv. 32 ; Isai. xlii. 14 ; Ec